Habitat use of a critically endangered elasmobranch, the largetooth sawfish Pristis pristis, in an intermittently flowing riverine nursery

Whitty, Jeff M., Keleher, James, Ebner, Brendan C., Gleiss, Adrian C., Simpfendorfer, Colin A., and Morgan, David L. (2017) Habitat use of a critically endangered elasmobranch, the largetooth sawfish Pristis pristis, in an intermittently flowing riverine nursery. Endangered Species Research, 34. pp. 211-227.

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Abstract

Knowledge of how an animal uses its habitat is a fundamental component of effective conservation strategies. The Critically Endangered large tooth sawfish Pristis pristisuses rivers and their estuaries as nursery habitats, where it is likely to be exposed to elevated pressures from anthropogenic-induced stresses including fishing (e.g. bycatch or direct harvest) and instream habitat modification and degradation (e.g. barriers, water extraction, and mining). With a paucity of data available on habitat use of P. pristis, we monitored the movements of 32 juveniles (952 to2510 mm total length; mean ± SE = 1919 ± 64 mm) using acoustic telemetry to explore correlations between sawfish movement and abiotic as well as biotic variables over an 8 yr period (2008 to2015) in the freshwater reaches of the Fitzroy River, Western Australia. Monitored juveniles were least active when they occupied deeper runs and pools in proximity to large woody debris by day and were most active during night-time and twilight hours when inhabiting shallow water such as glides, pool edges, and shallow runs. These shifts in activity and habitat use were primarily mediated by foraging and refuging behaviours, which were coupled to day-night cycling of light avail-ability. Protection of these instream habitats and the understanding of their use by P. pristis are important for aiding in the management of intermittently flowing rivers that are used as nurseries for this species.

Item ID: 50221
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1613-4796
Keywords: diel activity; acoustic telemetry; large woody debris; dry season; Pristidae
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Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are unrestricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.

Funders: Chevron Australia (CA), Western Australian Government (WAG), Department of Environment and Energy
Projects and Grants: WAG Natural Resource Management Program
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2017 02:03
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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