Same species, different prerequisites: investigating body condition and foraging success in young reef sharks between an atoll and an island system

Weideli, Ornella C., Bouyoucos, Ian A., Papastamatiou, Yannis P., Mescam, Gauthier, Rummer, Jodie L., and Planes, Serge (2019) Same species, different prerequisites: investigating body condition and foraging success in young reef sharks between an atoll and an island system. Scientific Reports, 9. 13447.

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Acquiring and storing energy is vital to sharks of all age-classes. Viviparous shark embryos receive endogenous maternal energy reserves to sustain the first weeks after birth. Then, in order to maintain body condition, sharks must start foraging. Our goal was to understand whether maternal energy investments vary between blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) from two populations and to what extent body condition and the initiation of foraging might be affected by presumably variable maternal investments. A total of 546 young sharks were captured at St. Joseph atoll (Seychelles) and Moorea (French Polynesia) between 2014 and 2018, and indices of body condition and percentage of stomachs containing prey were measured. Maternal investment was found to be site-specific, with significantly larger, heavier, and better conditioned individuals in Moorea. Despite these advantages, as time progressed, Moorea sharks exhibited significant decreases in body condition and were slower to initiate foraging. We suggest that the young sharks' foraging success is independent of the quality of maternal energy resources, and that other factors, such as prey availability, prey quality, and/or anthropogenic stressors are likely responsible for the observed differences across sites. Insights into intraspecific variations in early life-stages may further support site-specific management strategies for young sharks from nearshore habitats.

Item ID: 60563
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Cre-ative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not per-mitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Funders: Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF), Basler Stiftung für biologische Forschung, James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarship, Australian Research Council (ARC), L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Foundation Fellowship, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Projects and Grants: SOSF Keystone Grant 290, ARC PDE150101266 (2015-2016)
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 07:40
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 100%
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