Space use patterns of sharks in relation to boat activity in an urbanized coastal waterway

Mitchell J. Rider, Oliver S. Kirsebom, Austin J. Gallagher, Erica Staaterman, Jerald S. Ault, Christopher R. Sasso, Tom Jackson, Joan A. Browder, Neil Hammerschlag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aquatic ecosystems face numerous anthropogenic threats associated with coastal urbanization, with boat activity being among the most prevalent. The present study aimed to evaluate a potential relationship between boat activity and shark space use in Biscayne Bay, Florida (USA), a coastal waterway exposed to high levels of boating. Spatiotemporal patterns in boat density and traffic were determined from aerial surveys and underwater acoustic recorders, respectively. These data were then compared with residency patterns of bull (Carcharhinus leucas), nurse (Ginglymostoma cirratum) and great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) sharks quantified through passive acoustic telemetry. Results were mixed, with no detectable relationship between boat density and shark residency for any of the species. Hourly presence of G. cirratum decreased with increasing boat traffic, a relationship not seen in the other two species. Explanations for these results include habituation of sharks to the high levels of chronic boat activity in the study area and interspecific differences in hearing sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105489
JournalMarine Environmental Research
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Acoustic telemetry
  • Coastal waters
  • Elasmobranch
  • Global change
  • Movement ecology
  • Urbanization
  • Vessel traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Space use patterns of sharks in relation to boat activity in an urbanized coastal waterway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this