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Sequential movement into coastal habitats and high spatial overlap of predator and prey suggest high predation pressure in protected areas


Barnett, A and Semmens, JM, Sequential movement into coastal habitats and high spatial overlap of predator and prey suggest high predation pressure in protected areas, Oikos, 121, (6) pp. 882-890. ISSN 1600-0706 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Nordic Society Oikos

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.20000.x


In theory, predators should attempt to match the distribution of their prey, and prey to avoid areas of high predation risk. However, there is a scarcity of empirical knowledge on predator and prey spatial use when both are moving freely in their natural environment. In the current study, we use information collated on a predators ’ diet, its population structure, as well as predator and prey relative abundance, and track the movements of predator and prey simultaneously to compare habitat use and evaluate predation pressure. Th e study was conducted in elasmobranch protected areas of coastal Tasmania, Australia. Th e species considered were the broadnose sevengill shark Notorynchus cepedianus, the apex predator in the area, and five chondrichthyan prey species. Notorynchus cepedianus and its prey show similar seasonality in the use of these coastal areas: more abundant in warmer months and absent in winter. Predator and prey also showed high spatial overlap and similar habitat use patterns. These similar movement patterns of predator and prey combined with the additional ecological information (diet, population structure of predator, relative abundance of predator and prey) suggests that N. cepedianus move into coastal areas to exploit seasonally abundant prey. Also, while in protected areas, chondrichthyans are subjected to high predation pressure. Overall, results illustrate the value of simultaneously recording and integrating multiple types of information to explore predator – prey relationships and predation pressure.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:coastal zone, empirical analysis, fish, habitat type, integrated approach, population structure, predation risk, predator-prey interaction, protected area, relative abundance, seasonality, spatial analysis, Chondrichthyes, Notorynchus cepedianus
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Barnett, A (Dr Adam Barnett)
UTAS Author:Semmens, JM (Professor Jayson Semmens)
ID Code:81836
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:46
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2013-01-09
Last Modified:2013-05-07

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