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ESR 53:199-211 (2024)  -  DOI:

Length at life stages of the white shark Carcharodon carcharias in the western North Atlantic

J. Fernando Márquez-Farías1, John P. Tyminski2, George C. Fischer2, Robert E. Hueter2,3,*

1Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Paseo Claussen S/N, Los Pinos, CP 82000 Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico
2OCEARCH, 1790 Bonanza Drive, Park City, Utah 84060, USA
3Center for Shark Research, Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Florida 34236, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Length at life stages of the white shark Carcharodon carcharias is not well known for most of the 9 populations of this species, including in the western North Atlantic (WNA). We analyzed length and maturity data by sex for 87 white sharks with sizes ranging 138-501 cm total length (TL), captured, studied, and released by OCEARCH during 2012-2022, off the US and Canadian Atlantic coasts. A binary logistic regression was used to estimate the length-at-maturity (L50) for the WNA white shark with a Bayesian statistical framework using a Markov chain Monte Carlo method for numerical integration. Different trials using noninformative and informative priors were tested. The posterior probability distribution for L50, steepness of the model (φ), and 95% credible intervals (CI) of the logistic model for females were L50 = 411.3 cm TL (CI: 390.8-432.6 cm TL) and φ = 10.5 (CI: 5.7-17.8) and for males were L50 = 334.9 cm TL (CI: 321.2-348.2 cm TL) and φ = 7.5 (CI: 4.2-12.4). These L50 values are somewhat smaller than previously reported sizes-at-maturity for both sexes of this species. An ordinal logistic regression allowed us to determine the probability of being in the various life stages (young-of-the-year, juvenile, and adult) at a particular size. Estimating the length at any life-history stage of white sharks along with age estimates is useful for determining the reproductive value of the population and ultimately for estimating the relative contribution (elasticity) of vital rates to population growth.

KEY WORDS: Size-at-maturity · Bayesian approach · Apex predator · Markov chain Monte Carlo

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Cite this article as: Márquez-Farías JF, Tyminski JP, Fischer GC, Hueter RE (2024) Length at life stages of the white shark Carcharodon carcharias in the western North Atlantic. Endang Species Res 53:199-211.

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