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Oceanic adults, coastal juveniles: tracking the habitat use of whale sharks off the Pacific coast of Mexico

Oceanic adults, coastal juveniles: tracking the habitat use of whale sharks off the Pacific coast of Mexico
Oceanic adults, coastal juveniles: tracking the habitat use of whale sharks off the Pacific coast of Mexico
Eight whale sharks tagged with pop-up satellite archival tags off the Gulf of California, Mexico, were tracked for periods of 14–134 days. Five of these sharks were adults, with four females visually assessed to be pregnant. At least for the periods they were tracked, juveniles remained in the Gulf of California while adults moved offshore into the eastern Pacific Ocean. We propose that parturition occurs in these offshore waters. Excluding two juveniles that remained in the shallow tagging area for the duration of tracking, all sharks spent 65 ± 20.7% (SD) of their time near the surface, even over deep water, often in association with frontal zones characterized by cool-water upwelling. While these six sharks all made dives into the meso- or bathypelagic zones, with two sharks reaching the maximum depth recordable by the tags (1285.8 m), time spent at these depths represented a small proportion of the overall tracks. Most deep dives (72.7%) took place during the day, particularly during the early morning and late afternoon. Pronounced habitat differences by ontogenetic stage suggest that adult whale sharks are less likely to frequent coastal waters after the onset of maturity.
2167-8359
1-23
Ramírez-macías, Dení
6b814ad8-1dd3-4a01-94bf-12f557387478
Queiroz, Nuno
f36209dc-ab54-40b0-8d3c-08a73ba298ef
Pierce, Simon J.
0550e911-b6b0-42d4-8621-06b7ed3b081c
Humphries, Nicolas E.
9246d06a-396a-4c05-9721-dc340e75a4d0
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81
Brunnschweiler, Juerg M.
f80f2d31-23f0-461e-b885-428ad77a8af4
Ramírez-macías, Dení
6b814ad8-1dd3-4a01-94bf-12f557387478
Queiroz, Nuno
f36209dc-ab54-40b0-8d3c-08a73ba298ef
Pierce, Simon J.
0550e911-b6b0-42d4-8621-06b7ed3b081c
Humphries, Nicolas E.
9246d06a-396a-4c05-9721-dc340e75a4d0
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81
Brunnschweiler, Juerg M.
f80f2d31-23f0-461e-b885-428ad77a8af4

Ramírez-macías, Dení, Queiroz, Nuno, Pierce, Simon J., Humphries, Nicolas E., Sims, David W. and Brunnschweiler, Juerg M. (2017) Oceanic adults, coastal juveniles: tracking the habitat use of whale sharks off the Pacific coast of Mexico. PeerJ, 5 (e3271), 1-23. (doi:10.7717/peerj.3271).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Eight whale sharks tagged with pop-up satellite archival tags off the Gulf of California, Mexico, were tracked for periods of 14–134 days. Five of these sharks were adults, with four females visually assessed to be pregnant. At least for the periods they were tracked, juveniles remained in the Gulf of California while adults moved offshore into the eastern Pacific Ocean. We propose that parturition occurs in these offshore waters. Excluding two juveniles that remained in the shallow tagging area for the duration of tracking, all sharks spent 65 ± 20.7% (SD) of their time near the surface, even over deep water, often in association with frontal zones characterized by cool-water upwelling. While these six sharks all made dives into the meso- or bathypelagic zones, with two sharks reaching the maximum depth recordable by the tags (1285.8 m), time spent at these depths represented a small proportion of the overall tracks. Most deep dives (72.7%) took place during the day, particularly during the early morning and late afternoon. Pronounced habitat differences by ontogenetic stage suggest that adult whale sharks are less likely to frequent coastal waters after the onset of maturity.

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Accepted/In Press date: 4 May 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 May 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 418385
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418385
ISSN: 2167-8359
PURE UUID: cb5cfe7a-cf4d-49c4-a647-c6a26b6a89ac

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Date deposited: 06 Mar 2018 17:30
Last modified: 27 Jan 2022 17:35

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Contributors

Author: Dení Ramírez-macías
Author: Nuno Queiroz
Author: Simon J. Pierce
Author: Nicolas E. Humphries
Author: David W. Sims
Author: Juerg M. Brunnschweiler

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