Long-term movement patterns of a coral reef predator

Heupel, M.R., and Simpfendorfer, C.A. (2015) Long-term movement patterns of a coral reef predator. Coral Reefs, 34 (2). pp. 679-691.

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Abstract

Long-term monitoring is required to fully define periodicity and patterns in animal movement. This is particularly relevant for defining what factors are driving the presence, location, and movements of individuals. The long-term movement and space use patterns of grey reef sharks, Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, were examined on a whole of reef scale in the southern Great Barrier Reef to define whether movement and activity space varied through time. Twenty-nine C. amblyrhynchos were tracked for over 2 years to define movement patterns. All individuals showed high residency within the study site, but also had high roaming indices. This indicated that individuals remained in the region and used all of the monitored habitat (i.e., the entire reef perimeter). Use of space was consistent through time with high reuse of areas most of the year. Therefore, individuals maintained discrete home ranges, but undertook broader movements around the reef at times. Mature males showed greatest variation in movement with larger activity spaces and movement into new regions during the mating season (August-September). Depth use patterns also differed, suggesting behaviour or resource requirements varied between sexes. Examination of the long-term, reef-scale movements of C. amblyrhynchos has revealed that reproductive activity may play a key role in space use and activity patterns. It was unclear whether mating behaviour or an increased need for food to sustain reproductive activity and development played a greater role in these patterns. Reef shark movement patterns are becoming more clearly defined, but research is still required to fully understand the biological drivers for the observed patterns.

Item ID: 41896
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: grey reef shark, habitat use, acoustic telemetry, activity space
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Projects and Grants: ARC Future Fellowship #FT100101004
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 18:05
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 70%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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