Intra-specific variation in movement and habitat connectivity of a mobile predator revealed by acoustic telemetry and network analyses

Espinoza, Mario, Ledee, Elodie J.I., Smoothey, Amy F., Heupel, Michelle, Peddemors, Victor M., Tobin, Andrew J., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2021) Intra-specific variation in movement and habitat connectivity of a mobile predator revealed by acoustic telemetry and network analyses. Marine Biology, 168 (6). 80.

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Abstract

Few studies have considered linkages of mobile predators across large spatial scales despite their significant and often critical role in maintaining ecosystem function and health. The bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) is a large, widespread coastal predator capable of undertaking long-range movement, but there is still limited understanding of intra-regional differences in movement and habitat connectivity across latitudes within the same coastline. This study used acoustic telemetry data and network analyses to investigate long-range movements, residency patterns and seasonal habitat linkages of sub-adult and adult C. leucas along the east coast of Australia. Our results revealed that C. leucas tagged in Sydney Harbour were mainly present within this temperate estuary in summer and autumn; the rest of the year individuals were detected in tropical and subtropical habitats from southern and central Queensland. In contrast, the detection probability of C. leucas tagged in the Townsville Reefs (central Great Barrier Reef) peaked in spring, with a portion of the tagged population migrating south during the summer months. Differences in residency time between tagging locations were also detected, as all C. leucas tagged in Sydney Harbour were absent between June and November, but 35% of the tropical-reef tagged population remained resident year-round. Network analyses complemented these findings by revealing different seasonal habitat use between regions, thus highlighting complex seasonal-habitat linkages of C. leucas along the coast. Our findings support the hypothesis that the timing, duration, and drivers involved in the long-range movements and connectivity of sub-adult and adult C. leucas vary between latitudinal regions, most likely driven by the interaction between seasonal temperature changes, foraging and reproduction.

Item ID: 70367
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
Copyright Information: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), AIMS@JCU
Projects and Grants: ARC FT100101004
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 03:03
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 60%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 20%
SEO Codes: 10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1003 Fisheries - wild caught > 100305 Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna) @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180502 Assessment and management of pelagic marine ecosystems @ 50%
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