Diel patterns in three-dimensional use of space by sea snakes

Udyawer, Vinay, Simpfendorfer, Colin A., and Heupel, Michelle R. (2015) Diel patterns in three-dimensional use of space by sea snakes. Animal Biotelemetry, 3. 29. pp. 1-9.

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Background: The study of animal movement and use of space have traditionally focused on horizontal and vertical movements separately. However, this may limit the interpretation of results of such behaviours in a three-dimensional environment. Here we use passive acoustic telemetry to visualise and define the three-dimensional use of space by two species of sea snake [Hydrophis (Lapemis) curtus; and Hydrophis elegans] within a coastal embayment and identify changes in how they use space over a diel cycle.

Results: Monitored snakes exhibited a clear diel pattern in their use of space, with individuals displaying restricted movements at greater depths during the day, and larger movements on the surface at night. Hydrophis curtus generally occupied space in deep water within the bay, while H. elegans were restricted to mud flats in inundated inter-tidal habitats. The overlap in space used between day and night showed that individuals used different core areas; however, the extent of areas used was similar.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that by incorporating the capacity to dive in analyses of space use by sea snakes, changes over a diel cycle can be identified. Three-dimensional use of space by sea snakes can identify spatial or temporal overlaps with anthropogenic threats (e.g. trawling, dredging) and help develop targeted management policies that mitigate any adverse effects to ensure healthy populations of sea snakes.

Item ID: 46467
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2050-3385
Keywords: Hydrophis (Lapemis) curtus; Hydrophis elegans; kernel utilisation distribution (KUD); 3D
Additional Information:

© 2015 Udyawer et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: National Environmental Research Program Tropical Ecosystems Hub (NERP-TEH), School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2016 23:56
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 34%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0606 Physiology > 060601 Animal Physiology - Biophysics @ 33%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060809 Vertebrate Biology @ 33%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 34%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 33%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 33%
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