MEPS 370:221-237 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07628

Migration patterns of white sharks Carcharodon carcharias tagged at Guadalupe Island, Mexico, and identification of an eastern Pacific shared offshore foraging area

Michael L. Domeier*, Nicole Nasby-Lucas

Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research,901-B Pier View Way, Oceanside, California 92054, USA Present address: Marine Conservation Science Institute, 2809 S. Mission Road, Fallbrook, California 92028, USA

ABSTRACT: Pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) were used to study the migration patterns and habitat preference of 56 white sharks tagged off Guadalupe Island, Mexico, between 2000 and 2008. Nine tags were recovered, providing 1021 d of high resolution (2 min) archival data. Two individual sharks were tagged in consecutive years, providing 2 yr of tracking data for each individual. White sharks were found to make long-range, seasonal migrations from Guadalupe Island to an offshore pelagic habitat, sometimes traveling as far west as the Hawaiian Islands. The pelagic region inhabited by Guadalupe Island white sharks corresponds with that reported for sharks tagged off central California; thus we have termed it the Shared Offshore Foraging Area (SOFA). Sharks spent at least 5 mo off Guadalupe Island before beginning their migration around 15 February on average (earliest 21 December, latest 5 May). They traveled through a migration corridor in an average time of 16 d at an average speed of 3.2 km h–1 and remained in the SOFA for an average duration of 140 d. Males and females began their offshore migrations around the same time and traveled to the same area, but males were found to return to Guadalupe Island on average around 22 July (earliest 15 July, latest 30 July), while females remained in the SOFA into early autumn. Diving profiles of sharks in the SOFA strongly suggest feeding behavior; however, the targeted prey species are unknown at this time.


KEY WORDS: Carcharodon · Migration · Aggregation · Guadalupe Island · White shark · Behavior · Philopatry


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Cite this article as: Domeier ML, Nasby-Lucas N (2008) Migration patterns of white sharks Carcharodon carcharias tagged at Guadalupe Island, Mexico, and identification of an eastern Pacific shared offshore foraging area. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 370:221-237. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07628

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