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Deep-Diving and Diel Changes in Vertical Habitat Use by Caribbean Reef Sharks Carcharhinus perezi
Marine Ecology Progress Series
  • Demian D. Chapman, Nova Southeastern University; University of Miami
  • Ellen K. Pikitch, University of Miami
  • Elizabeth A. Babcock, University of Miami
  • Mahmood S. Shivji, Nova Southeastern University
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Satellite tracking,
  • Depth range,
  • Coral reef ecology,
  • Marine Protected Area,
  • Carcharhinidae
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.

©Inter-Research 2007

Citation Information
Demian D. Chapman, Ellen K. Pikitch, Elizabeth A. Babcock and Mahmood S. Shivji. "Deep-Diving and Diel Changes in Vertical Habitat Use by Caribbean Reef Sharks Carcharhinus perezi" Marine Ecology Progress Series Vol. 344 (2007) p. 271 - 275 ISSN: 0171-8630
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