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Natural tags reveal populations of conservation dependent school shark use different pupping areas


McMillan, MN and Huveneers, C and Semmens, JM and Gillanders, BM, Natural tags reveal populations of conservation dependent school shark use different pupping areas, Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 599 pp. 147-156. ISSN 0171-8630 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Available from 13 July 2023

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Inter-Research

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps12626


Knowledge of reproductive movements and sources of recruitment in highly mobile species is important to understand population-level resilience and to manage recovery in populations depleted by human interference. Management of the school shark Galeorhinus galeus (Linnaeus, 1758), a Conservation Dependent species in Australia subject to a national recovery strategy after stock collapse from overfishing, has long assumed obligate female migration to pupping areas in the southeast of their range. We used post-natal elemental signatures of individuals from 3 cohorts born in 1996 to 1998 as a proxy to test whether females use common pupping areas. Environmental or biological factors that differ among pupping areas can give rise to unique trace element signatures in shark vertebrae that act as natural tags and can be used to assess relative contributions from recruitment sources to adult populations. We compared post-natal signatures from sharks caught in 2 regions, South Australia in the northwest of the speciesí range and Bass Strait in the southeast, using laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry. Signatures were similar between regions for 1 cohort, suggesting high use of shared or similar pupping areas, but differed for the 2 remaining cohorts. Region of capture could also be accurately predicted (>75%) based on post-natal signatures, refuting the long-held view that all females use common pupping areas. We conclude that female movements and reproductive strategies are likely more plastic than previously assumed, highlighting the need to clarify them and their potential effects on resilience and conservation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:behavioural plasticity, laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry, LA-ICP-MS, partial migration, reproductive strategies, recovery, resilience
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries management
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Semmens, JM (Professor Jayson Semmens)
ID Code:131150
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2019-03-05
Last Modified:2019-04-10

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