Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-9-2015

Publication Title

Scientific Reports

Keywords

Animal migration, Behavioural ecology, Ecosystem ecology

ISSN

2045-2322

Volume

5

Issue/No.

11202

First Page

1

Last Page

11

Abstract

Long-distance movements of animals are an important driver of population spatial dynamics and determine the extent of overlap with area-focused human activities, such as fishing. Despite global concerns of declining shark populations, a major limitation in assessments of population trends or spatial management options is the lack of information on their long-term migratory behaviour. For a large marine predator, the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier, we show from individuals satellitetracked for multiple years (up to 1101 days) that adult males undertake annually repeated, roundtrip migrations of over 7,500km in the northwest Atlantic. Notably, these migrations occurred between the highly disparate ecosystems of Caribbean coral reef regions in winter and high latitude oceanic areas in summer, with strong, repeated philopatry to specific overwintering insular habitat. Partial migration also occurred, with smaller, immature individuals displaying reduced migration propensity. Foraging may be a putative motivation for these oceanic migrations, with summer behaviour showing higher path tortuosity at the oceanic range extremes. The predictable migratory patterns and use of highly divergent ecosystems shown by male tiger sharks appear broadly similar to migrations seen in birds, reptiles and mammals, and highlight opportunities for dynamic spatial management and conservation measures of highly mobile sharks.

Comments

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Additional Comments

Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia grant #: PTDC/MAR/100345/2008; FCT grant #: SFRH/BD/68717/2010; FCT Investigator Fellowship #: IF/01611/2013

ResearcherID

G-4080-2013

DOI

10.1038/srep11202

Peer Reviewed

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