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Acoustic monitoring of sixgill shark movements in Puget Sound: evidence for localized movement

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Understanding the movements of species, particularly those that may exert strong influence on community structure or that may be susceptible to human perturbations, is critical to effectively conserve and manage populations. However, the study of movement behavior in marine fishes has been historically difficult and typically produces a limited amount of data (i.e., start and end points). We use an array of automated acoustic receivers to monitor autumn and winter movement patterns of sixgill sharks (Hexanchus griseus (Bonnaterre, 1788)) in Puget Sound, Washington, USA. Daily movement of sharks and maximum distance moved from tagging sites varied with size, with larger sharks having shorter daily movements and maximum distances from tagging locations than smaller sharks. Sharks were detected at the same site as the previous day 76% of the time. Movement away from the shark’s tagging location increased slightly over the duration of the study, but most sharks occupied the same sites for most of the study. These relatively small and stable movement patterns could lead to localized, top-down impacts from sixgill sharks and suggest that local human perturbations, such as fishing or pollution, have the potential to negatively affect local populations of sixgill sharks.

Afin de conserver et de gérer efficacement les populations, il est essentiel de comprendre les déplacements des espèces, particulièrement de celles qui peuvent exercer une forte influence sur la structure de la communauté ou qui peuvent être vulnérables aux perturbations anthropiques. Cependant, l'étude des comportements de déplacement des poissons marins s'est avérée difficile dans le passé et elle génère typiquement des données limitées (par ex., les points de départ et d'arrivée). Nous utilisons un réseau de récepteurs acoustiques pour suivre les patrons de déplacement des requins grisets (Hexanchus griseus (Bonnaterre, 1788)) dans Puget Sound, Washington, É.-U. Les déplacements journaliers et la distance maximale parcourue depuis le site de marquage varient en fonction de la taille des requins : les grands requins ont des déplacements journaliers plus réduits et les distances maximales qu’ils parcourent depuis le site de marquage sont plus courtes que celles des requins plus petits. Les requins se retrouvent au même site que la veille dans 76 % des cas. Les déplacements à partir du site de marquage deviennent un peu plus importants au cours de l'étude, mais la plupart des requins ont occupé les mêmes sites durant la plus grande partie de l'investigation. Ces patrons de déplacements relativement limités et stables peuvent générer des impacts descendants localisés de la part des requins grisets; ils indiquent que les perturbations anthropiques locales, telles que la pêche et la pollution, peuvent potentiellement avoir un impact négatif sur les populations locales de requins grisets.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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