MEPS 344:271-275 (2007)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps06941

Deep-diving and diel changes in vertical habitat use by Caribbean reef sharks Carcharhinus perezi

Demian D. Chapman1,2,*, Ellen K. Pikitch3, Elizabeth A. Babcock2, Mahmood S. Shivji1

1Guy Harvey Research Institute/Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, 8000 N. Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, Florida 33004, USA
2Pew Institute for Ocean Science, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33133, USA
3Pew Institute for Ocean Science, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 126 E. 56th Street, New York, New York 10022, USA

ABSTRACT: Longline sampling (83 sets) supplemented with 6 pop-off archival transmitting (PAT) tag deployments were used to characterize vertical habitat use by Caribbean reef sharks Carcharhinus perezi at Glover's Reef atoll, Belize. Longline catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) in 2 shallow reef habitats (lagoon <18 m depth, fore-reef <40 m depth) underwent significant nocturnal increases for sharks larger than 110 cm total length (TL), but not for smaller sharks. Nocturnal CPUE of small sharks appeared to increase in the lagoon and decrease on the fore-reef, suggestive of movements to avoid larger conspecifics. PAT tag deployments (7 to 20 d) indicate that large C. perezi generally increased the amount of time they spent in the upper 40 m of the water column during the night, and inhabited much greater depths and tolerated lower temperatures than previously described. The wide vertical (0 to 356 m) and temperature range (31 to 12.4°C) documented for this top-predator reveals ecological coupling of deep and shallow reef habitats and has implications for Marine Protected Area (MPA) design.


KEY WORDS: Satellite tracking · Depth range · Coral reef ecology · Marine Protected Area · Carcharhinidae


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Cite this article as: Chapman DD, Pikitch EK, Babcock EA, Shivji MS (2007) Deep-diving and diel changes in vertical habitat use by Caribbean reef sharks Carcharhinus perezi. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 344:271-275. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps06941

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