Regional-scale migrations and habitat use of juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) in the US South Atlantic

Eric A. Reyier, Bryan R. Franks, Demian D. Chapman, Douglas M. Scheidt, Eric D. Stolen, Samuel H. Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Resolving the geographic extent and timing of coastal shark migrations, as well as their environmental cues, is essential for refining shark management strategies in anticipation of increasing anthropogenic stressors to coastal ecosystems. We employed a regional-scale passive acoustic telemetry array encompassing 300 km of the east Florida coast to assess what factors influence site fidelity of juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) to an exposed coastal nursery at Cape Canaveral, and to document the timing and rate of their seasonal migrations. Movements of 54 juvenile lemon sharks were monitored for three years with individuals tracked for up to 751 days. While most sharks demonstrated site fidelity to the Cape Canaveral region December through February under typical winter water temperatures, historically extreme declines in ocean temperature were accompanied by rapid and often temporary, southward displacements of up to 190 km along the Florida east coast. From late February through April each year, most sharks initiated a northward migration at speeds of up to 64 km day-1 with several individuals then detected in compatible estuarine telemetry arrays in Georgia and South Carolina up to 472 km from release locations. Nineteen sharks returned for a second or even third consecutive winter, thus demonstrating strong seasonal philopatry to the Cape Canaveral region. The long distance movements and habitat associations of immature lemon sharks along the US southeast coast contrast sharply with the natal site fidelity observed in this species at other sites in the western Atlantic Ocean. These findings validate the existing multi-state management strategies now in place. Results also affirm the value of collaborative passive arrays for resolving seasonal movements and habitat preferences of migratory coastal shark species not easily studied with other tagging techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere88470
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 26 2014

Fingerprint

Negaprion brevirostris
Sharks
sharks
Ecosystem
Coastal zones
Telemetering
philopatry
habitats
telemetry
migratory behavior
coasts
Ecosystems
Refining
Telemetry
Acoustics
Temperature
winter
Water
refining
habitat preferences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Reyier, E. A., Franks, B. R., Chapman, D. D., Scheidt, D. M., Stolen, E. D., & Gruber, S. H. (2014). Regional-scale migrations and habitat use of juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) in the US South Atlantic. PLoS One, 9(2), [e88470]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0088470

Regional-scale migrations and habitat use of juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) in the US South Atlantic. / Reyier, Eric A.; Franks, Bryan R.; Chapman, Demian D.; Scheidt, Douglas M.; Stolen, Eric D.; Gruber, Samuel H.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 9, No. 2, e88470, 26.02.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Reyier, Eric A. ; Franks, Bryan R. ; Chapman, Demian D. ; Scheidt, Douglas M. ; Stolen, Eric D. ; Gruber, Samuel H. / Regional-scale migrations and habitat use of juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) in the US South Atlantic. In: PLoS One. 2014 ; Vol. 9, No. 2.
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