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An empirical test of the 'shark nursery area concept' in Texas bays using a long-term fisheries-independent data set

Aquatic Biology

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Abstract

Using a long-term fisheries-independent data set, we tested the 'shark nursery area concept' proposed by Heupel et al. (2007) with the suggested working assumptions that a shark nursery habitat would: (1) have an abundance of immature sharks greater than the mean abundance across all habitats where they occur; (2) be used by sharks repeatedly through time (years); and (3) see immature sharks remaining within the habitat for extended periods of time. We tested this concept using young-of-the-year (age 0) and juvenile (age 1+ yr) bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas from gill-net surveys conducted in Texas bays from 1976 to 2006 to estimate the potential nursery function of 9 coastal bays. Of the 9 bay systems considered as potential nursery habitat, only Matagorda Bay satisfied all 3 criteria for young-of-the-year bull sharks. Both Matagorda and San Antonio Bays met the criteria for juvenile bull sharks. Through these analyses we examined the utility of this approach for characterizing nursery areas and we also describe some practical considerations, such as the influence of the temporal or spatial scales considered when applying the nursery role concept to shark populations.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
An empirical test of the 'shark nursery area concept' in Texas bays using a long-term fisheries-independent data set
Series title:
Aquatic Biology
Volume
11
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Publisher:
Inter-Research
Publisher location:
Oldendorf/Luhe, Germany
Contributing office(s):
Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description:
12 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Aquatic Biology
First page:
65
Last page:
76
Country:
United States
State:
Texas