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At the turn of the tide: Space use and habitat partitioning in two sympatric shark species is driven by tidal phase

At the turn of the tide: Space use and habitat partitioning in two sympatric shark species is driven by tidal phase
At the turn of the tide: Space use and habitat partitioning in two sympatric shark species is driven by tidal phase
Coexistence of ecologically similar species occupying the same geographic location (sympatry) poses questions regarding how their populations persist without leading to competitive exclusion. There is increasing evidence to show that micro-variations in habitat use may promote coexistence through minimizing direct competition for space and resources. We used two sympatric marine predators that show high fidelity to a small, remote coral atoll as a model to investigate how temporally dynamic partitioning of space use may promote coexistence. Using novel methods (difference network analysis and dynamic space occupancy analysis), we revealed that even though blacktip reef sharks Carcharhinus melanopterus and sicklefin lemon sharks Negaprion acutidens both show focused use of the same atoll habitats, the spatio-temporal dynamics of their use was partitioned such that they only shared the same microhabitats 26% of the time. Moreover, the degree of overlap was strongly influenced by the tidal cycle, peaking at ∼35% at higher tides as both species appear to target similar intertidal micro-habitats despite the increase in available space. Our work provides a rare example of how two marine predators with similar ecological roles and habitat preferences may coexist in the same place through dynamic segregation of habitat use in space and time, potentially reflecting adaptive behavioral traits for minimizing interactions. The strong influence of small tidal variation on species habitat use and partitioning also raises concerns over how atoll ecosystem dynamics may be influenced by sea level rises that could alter tidal dynamics.
behavior, elasmobranch, movement, telemetry, tide
2296-7745
Lea, James S. E.
ed55a87b-ba39-4475-a7cb-2ab7fe176620
Humphries, Nicolas E.
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Bortoluzzi, Jenny
4f01e037-36bb-4b42-ad49-1693bf917ede
Daly, Ryan
cc1165cb-c439-4324-9f10-f8f3dd4d9991
Von Brandis, Rainer G.
b81a2258-513b-4351-9f87-8c2b4ad69121
Patel, Ela
eb30c4aa-0845-49fb-84f0-74c8d94fbd54
Patel, Evan
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Clarke, Christopher R.
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Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81
Lea, James S. E.
ed55a87b-ba39-4475-a7cb-2ab7fe176620
Humphries, Nicolas E.
7eb196e4-95ec-4878-a26e-e96abd8accd6
Bortoluzzi, Jenny
4f01e037-36bb-4b42-ad49-1693bf917ede
Daly, Ryan
cc1165cb-c439-4324-9f10-f8f3dd4d9991
Von Brandis, Rainer G.
b81a2258-513b-4351-9f87-8c2b4ad69121
Patel, Ela
eb30c4aa-0845-49fb-84f0-74c8d94fbd54
Patel, Evan
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Clarke, Christopher R.
e84e02a1-94bb-4fc6-9793-bf5bf8f93074
Sims, David W.
7234b444-25e2-4bd5-8348-a1c142d0cf81

Lea, James S. E., Humphries, Nicolas E., Bortoluzzi, Jenny, Daly, Ryan, Von Brandis, Rainer G., Patel, Ela, Patel, Evan, Clarke, Christopher R. and Sims, David W. (2020) At the turn of the tide: Space use and habitat partitioning in two sympatric shark species is driven by tidal phase. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, [624]. (doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.00624).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Coexistence of ecologically similar species occupying the same geographic location (sympatry) poses questions regarding how their populations persist without leading to competitive exclusion. There is increasing evidence to show that micro-variations in habitat use may promote coexistence through minimizing direct competition for space and resources. We used two sympatric marine predators that show high fidelity to a small, remote coral atoll as a model to investigate how temporally dynamic partitioning of space use may promote coexistence. Using novel methods (difference network analysis and dynamic space occupancy analysis), we revealed that even though blacktip reef sharks Carcharhinus melanopterus and sicklefin lemon sharks Negaprion acutidens both show focused use of the same atoll habitats, the spatio-temporal dynamics of their use was partitioned such that they only shared the same microhabitats 26% of the time. Moreover, the degree of overlap was strongly influenced by the tidal cycle, peaking at ∼35% at higher tides as both species appear to target similar intertidal micro-habitats despite the increase in available space. Our work provides a rare example of how two marine predators with similar ecological roles and habitat preferences may coexist in the same place through dynamic segregation of habitat use in space and time, potentially reflecting adaptive behavioral traits for minimizing interactions. The strong influence of small tidal variation on species habitat use and partitioning also raises concerns over how atoll ecosystem dynamics may be influenced by sea level rises that could alter tidal dynamics.

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fmars-07-00624 - Version of Record
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Accepted/In Press date: 8 July 2020
Published date: 7 August 2020
Keywords: behavior, elasmobranch, movement, telemetry, tide

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445133
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445133
ISSN: 2296-7745
PURE UUID: a508e4cd-3ffb-4dba-bc2c-c53d543dd94c

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Date deposited: 23 Nov 2020 17:30
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 23:07

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Contributors

Author: James S. E. Lea
Author: Nicolas E. Humphries
Author: Jenny Bortoluzzi
Author: Ryan Daly
Author: Rainer G. Von Brandis
Author: Ela Patel
Author: Evan Patel
Author: Christopher R. Clarke
Author: David W. Sims

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