Jun 1, 2017

Drivers of abundance and spatial distribution of reef-associated sharks in an isolated atoll reef system

PloS One
David M TicklerJessica J Meeuwig

Abstract

We investigated drivers of reef shark demography across a large and isolated marine protected area, the British Indian Ocean Territory Marine Reserve, using stereo baited remote underwater video systems. We modelled shark abundance against biotic and abiotic variables at 35 sites across the reserve and found that the biomass of low trophic order fish (specifically planktivores) had the greatest effect on shark abundance, although models also included habitat variables (depth, coral cover and site type). There was significant variation in the composition of the shark assemblage at different atolls within the reserve. In particular, the deepest habitat sampled (a seamount at 70-80m visited for the first time in this study) recorded large numbers of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) not observed elsewhere. Size structure of the most abundant and common species, grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), varied with location. Individuals at an isolated bank were 30% smaller than those at the main atolls, with size structure significantly biased towards the size range for young of year (YOY). The 18 individuals judged to be YOY represented the offspring of between four and six females, so, whilst inconclusive, these d...Continue Reading

  • References33
  • Citations3

References

Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Size
Triaenodon obesus
Exertion
Sphyrna mokarran
Pecten jacobaeus homeopathic preparations
Impacted Tooth
Nebrius ferrugineus
Spatial Distribution
PIGY

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