Ecological drivers of shark distributions along a tropical coastline

Yates, Peter M., Heupel, Michelle R., Tobin, Andrew J., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2015) Ecological drivers of shark distributions along a tropical coastline. PLoS ONE, 10 (4). e0121346. pp. 1-18.

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As coastal species experience increasing anthropogenic pressures there is a growing need to characterise the ecological drivers of their abundance and habitat use, and understand how they may respond to changes in their environment. Accordingly, fishery-independent surveys were undertaken to investigate shark abundance along approximately 400 km of the tropical east coast of Australia. Generalised linear models were used to identify ecological drivers of the abundance of immature blacktip Carcharhinus tilstoni/Carcharhinus limbatus, pigeye Carcharhinus amboinensis, and scalloped hammerhead Sphyrna lewini sharks. Results indicated general and species-specific patterns in abundance that were characterised by a range of abiotic and biotic variables. Relationships with turbidity and salinity were similar across multiple species, highlighting the importance of these variables in the functioning of communal shark nurseries. In particular, turbid environments were especially important for all species at typical oceanic salinities. Mangrove proximity, depth, and water temperature were also important; however, their influence varied between species. Ecological drivers may promote spatial diversity in habitat use along environmentally heterogeneous coastlines and may therefore have important implications for population resilience.

Item ID: 40813
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
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© 2015 Yates et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2015 04:10
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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