Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science

Degree Name

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Mahmood Shivji

Second Advisor

Jeremy Vaudo

Third Advisor

Yannis Papastamatiou


space use, acoustic telemetry, residency, movement ecology, marine protected areas


Hammerhead sharks are among the most iconic and threatened shark species. Research has focused on the large hammerhead species, with relatively little work conducted on their smaller-bodied congeners, which face many of the same threats. One such species, the scalloped bonnethead (Sphyrna corona) is assessed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, however, little is known about the ecology of this species. Lack of knowledge about its movements, compromises conservation efforts, including attempts to mitigate fisheries threats by creating marine protected areas (MPA). Here, I describe the spatial habitat use patterns of scalloped bonnetheads and use the findings to suggest establishment of a small MPA in the Uramba Bahía Málaga National Natural Park along the Colombian Pacific coast, where this species still occurs at relatively high numbers. Shark movements were monitored for up to ~10 months between 2022 and 2023 using acoustic telemetry. Scalloped bonnetheads exhibited high residency to the area, with most sharks present during most of their monitoring period. The sharks had small activity spaces, with their movements appearing restricted to between two receivers separated by less than 2km, and influenced by tides and diel period. These results indicating that scalloped bonnetheads spend a lot of time in a small area suggest that even a spatially limited MPA in the Uramba Bahía Málaga National Natural Park is likely to benefit the conservation of this species. I provide the first insights into the movement behavior of the scalloped bonnethead, with important information for its protection and management.

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