Tidal movements of female leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) in Elkhorn Slough, California

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Carlisle, A. B., & Starr, R. M. (2010). Tidal movements of female leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) in Elkhorn Slough, California. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 89(1), 31-45. doi:10.1007/s10641-010-9667-0
TitleTidal movements of female leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) in Elkhorn Slough, California
AuthorsB. Carlisle, R. Starr
AbstractThe leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) is one of the most common species of elasmobranch in California, and uses the shallow bays and estuaries of California extensively throughout its life history. To examine the role that tides and time of day play on the distribution and movements of leopard sharks in an estuarine environment, a total of 22 female leopard sharks (78-140 cm TL) were tagged with acoustic transmitters in Elkhorn Slough, California, USA. Eight sharks were manually tracked for 20-71. 5 h, and 13 sharks were monitored for 4-280 days using an array of acoustic receivers. Overall, the distribution and movements of sharks were strongly influenced by the tides and to a lesser extent by period of day, although general patterns of movement differed depending on what region of Elkhorn Slough the sharks were using. In the main channel of Elkhorn Slough, sharks generally moved with the tide, maximizing the area over which they could forage on a more dispersed prey field. Conversely, leopard sharks within the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve regularly swam against strong currents to remain in proximity to the intertidal mudflats. This high degree of fidelity to a specific region was probably due to an abundance of important prey in the area. These results indicate that movements, and thus the foraging ecology, of leopard sharks show a high degree of plasticity and are influenced by tidal stage, tidal current, availability of suitable habitat, and availability and distribution of important prey items. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Start page31
End page45
Subjectsabundance, dispersal, estuarine environment, foraging behavior, habitat type, intertidal environment, life history, phenotypic plasticity, population distribution, predator-prey interaction, shark, telemetry, tidal current, tide, California, Elkhorn Slough, United States, Chondrichthyes, Felidae, Triakis, Triakis semifasciata
NoteCited By (since 1996):2, Fish and Fisheries, CODEN: EBFID