Importance of environmental and biological drivers in the presence and space use of a reef-associated shark

Heupel, M.R., and Simpfendorfer, C.A. (2014) Importance of environmental and biological drivers in the presence and space use of a reef-associated shark. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 496. pp. 47-57.

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As coral reef ecosystems come under increasing pressure from fisheries and climate change, understanding how species that rely on these habitats respond to changes within their environment is increasingly important. The presence and movement of 28 grey reef sharks Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos were monitored for 15 mo in the southern Great Barrier Reef in relation to environmental conditions and biological factors. Twenty-eight models including water temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, rainfall and time (week or month), size and sex were tested against presence and activity space data and compared using Akaike information criterion (AIC). Model results for presence of individuals in relation to environmental conditions indicated that temperature and wind speed had weak effects, likely related to detectability. Models using 3 different measures of activity space indicated no relationship between shark activity space and environmental parameters. Week was a significant factor in the top performing activity space models, with males showing increased activity space during weeks in September, when mating is believed to occur. These results suggest changes in movement were biologically rather than environmentally driven. It appears that C. amblyrhynchos are adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions in coral reef habitats and that movement between or away from reef platforms is likely related to biological factors such as prey density, competition, reproduction or dispersal rather than environmental or seasonal changes.

Item ID: 32964
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, acoustic monitoring, AATAMS, coral reef
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Projects and Grants: ARC Future Fellowship #FT100101004
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2014 09:58
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 60%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 20%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830299 Fisheries- Wild Caught not elsewhere classified @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
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