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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 697:81-95 (2022)  -  DOI:

Population-scale habitat use by school sharks Galeorhinus galeus (Triakidae) in the Southwest Atlantic: insights from temporally explicit niche modelling and habitat associations

Agustín M. De Wysiecki1,*, Alejo J. Irigoyen1, Federico Cortés2, Nelson D. Bovcon3,4, Andrés C. Milessi5, Natalia M. Hozbor2, Marina Coller6, Andrés J. Jaureguizar7,8,9

1Centro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Puerto Madryn U9120, Chubut, Argentina
2Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero, Mar del Plata B7600, Buenos Aires, Argentina
3Instituto de Hidrobiología, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco, Trelew U9100, Chubut, Argentina
4Secretaría de Pesca de la Provincia del Chubut, Rawson U9103, Chubut, Argentina
5Proyecto Un Solo Mar, Fray Bentos 65000, Río Negro, Uruguay
6Centro de Investigación Aplicada y Transferencia Tecnológica en Recursos Marinos Almirante Storni, San Antonio Oeste R8520, Río Negro, Argentina
7Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, La Plata B1900, Buenos Aires, Argentina
8Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía, Bahía Blanca B8000, Buenos Aires, Argentina
9Universidad Provincial del Sudoeste, Subsede Coronel Pringles B7530, Buenos Aires, Argentina
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Population-scale information on the spatial ecology of threatened mobile sharks is required to design more effective management measures. Using an exhaustive collection of presence-only records and relevant predictors, we applied temporally explicit environmental niche modelling to study habitat use by a school shark Galeorhinus galeus population in the Southwest Atlantic. As a complementary tool, we developed randomized habitat association curves to assess both the representation of data with biological information and possible intra-population variation in habitat use. Seasonal niche models supported a core area of distribution between southern Brazil and southern Argentina. Marginal seasonal variation in suitability at the northern and southern extremes of its distribution supported the hypothesis that the G. galeus population behaves to some degree as a niche shifter on an annual cycle. Habitat associations revealed regional bias in the collection of records with biological information, and suggested a complex intra-population segregation pattern between sexes and between maturity stages during the cold half of the year. Overall, results supported large-scale partial migrations (i.e. some individuals migrate while others remain resident) of the G. galeus population. This study demonstrates the significance of future regional efforts that focus on producing more and better databases to derive relevant information at a low cost for the management of threatened sharks and their relatives.

KEY WORDS: Apex predator · Temperate ecosystems · Distributional ecology · Randomization · Southwest Atlantic

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Cite this article as: De Wysiecki AM, Irigoyen AJ, Cortés F, Bovcon ND and others (2022) Population-scale habitat use by school sharks Galeorhinus galeus (Triakidae) in the Southwest Atlantic: insights from temporally explicit niche modelling and habitat associations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 697:81-95.

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