The ecology of elasmobranchs occurring in the Everglades National Park, Florida: implications for conservation and management
The elasmobranch fauna of Everglades National Park was studied using longline, gillnet, and rod and reel surveys. Thirteen species of elasmobranchs were identified including three species not previously reported in the park. Species richness was highest in the areas with the greatest influence of marine waters from the Gulf of Mexico and lower in estuarine areas and those subject to periods of hypersalinity. Most elasmobranch species were recorded as juveniles, with at least three species occurring as neonates, and there were few adults of any species. Electivity indices for salinity, temperature, and depth were calculated for Carcharhinus leucas (Valenciennes, 1841), Carcharhinus limbatus (Valenciennes, 1841), Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre, 1788), and Negaprion brevirostris (Poey, 1868), and indicated possible habitat partitioning based on these environmental characteristics. Tag-recapture data suggested that N. brevirostris may have a high level of residency and probably remains inside the park for long periods, while all other species showed movements into and out of the park on a regular basis. Results demonstrate the utility of the park for the conservation and management of elasmobranch species and the need to consider how future changes to the environment will affect this important group of predators.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2007
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