Deep-diving and diel changes in vertical habitat use by Caribbean reef sharks Carcharhinus perezi

Demian D. Chapman, Ellen K. Pikitch, Elizabeth A. Babcock, Mahmood S. Shivji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Longline sampling (83 sets) supplemented with 6 pop-off archival transmitting (PAT) tag deployments were used to characterize vertical habitat use by Caribbean reef sharks Carcharhinus perezi at Glover's Reef atoll, Belize. Longline catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) in 2 shallow reef habitats (lagoon <18 m depth, fore-reef <40 m depth) underwent significant nocturnal increases for sharks larger than 110 cm total length (TL), but not for smaller sharks. Nocturnal CPUE of small sharks appeared to increase in the lagoon and decrease on the fore-reef, suggestive of movements to avoid larger conspecifics. PAT tag deployments (7 to 20 d) indicate that large C. perezi generally increased the amount of time they spent in the upper 40 m of the water column during the night, and inhabited much greater depths and tolerated lower temperatures than previously described. The wide vertical (0 to 356 m) and temperature range (31 to 12.4°C) documented for this top-predator reveals ecological coupling of deep and shallow reef habitats and has implications for Marine Protected Area (MPA) design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume344
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 23 2007

Keywords

  • Carcharhinidae
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Depth range
  • Marine protected area
  • Satellite tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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