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Quito, Ecuador

Cartamil D.,University of California at San Diego | Wegner N.C.,University of California at San Diego | Aalbers S.,Pfleger Institute of Environment Research | Sepulveda C.A.,Pfleger Institute of Environment Research | And 2 more authors.
Marine and Freshwater Research

The common thresher shark, Alopias vulpinus, is the basis of the largest commercial shark fishery in California waters. We used acoustic telemetry to determine the diel movement patterns and habitat preferences of this species in the Southern California Bight (SCB), where commercial fishing for the common thresher shark is concentrated. Eight common threshers (fork length: 122203cm) were tagged with temperature and depth-sensing acoustic transmitters and tracked for periods ranging from 22 to 49h. Tracked sharks preferentially utilized deep offshore waters, and avoided shallower waters over the continental shelf. Mean rate of movement (ROM±s.d.) was 2.15±0.46kmh-1. ROM and angular concentration (r, a measure of relative linearity) both showed a strong daytime pattern, with highest values at dawn that decreased throughout the day, whereas nocturnal ROM and r were less variable. Daytime vertical movements consisted of either vertical excursions below the thermocline or relatively level swimming within the upper portion of the thermocline. Nocturnally, all sharks remained within the mixed layer. These findings suggest that the common thresher shark is primarily a daytime predator, and have relevance for estimating how the alteration of the set depth of fishing-gear could affect catch rates of this species in the SCB. © CSIRO 2010. Source

Cartamil D.P.,University of California at San Diego | Sepulveda C.A.,Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research | Wegner N.C.,University of California at San Diego | Aalbers S.A.,Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research | And 2 more authors.
Marine Biology

The common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) is a secondary target species of the California drift gillnet fishery (CA-DGN) and supports a growing recreational fishery in California waters. This study used archival tags to examine the movement patterns and habitat preferences of common threshers of the size range captured in the CA-DGN (<120 cm fork length). Depth and temperature-logging archival tags were deployed on 57 subadult and adult common threshers in the Southern California Bight. Tags from five individuals (8.8%) were recovered, and 154 days of data were successfully obtained from four of these. By night, shark movements were primarily limited to waters above the thermocline, which ranged in depth from 15 to 20 m. Sharks were significantly deeper by day, and daytime vertical distribution consisted of two distinct modes: a 'shallow mode' (wherein sharks occupied only the upper 20 m of the water column) and a 'deep mode' (characterized by frequent vertical excursions below the thermocline). This modal switch is interpreted as relating to regional differences in abundance of surface-oriented prey and prey in deeper water. Maximum dive depth was 320 m, greatest dive duration was 712 min, minimum temperature experienced during a dive was 9.1°C, and dive descent rate was significantly greater than ascent rate. Sharks inhabited waters corresponding to a sea surface temperature range of 16 to 21°C. The nocturnal depth distribution of common threshers has implications for management of drift gillnet deployment depths in the CA-DGN. © 2011 The Author(s). Source

Gaos A.R.,San Diego State University | Lewison R.L.,San Diego State University | Yanez I.L.,Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative | Wallace B.P.,Wildlife Conservation Society | And 10 more authors.
Biology Letters

Adult hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are typically described as open-coast, coral reef and hard substrate dwellers. Here, we report new satellite tracking data on female hawksbills from several countries in the eastern Pacific that revealed previously undocumented behaviour for adults of the species. In contrast to patterns of habitat use exhibited by their Caribbean and Indo-Pacific counterparts, eastern Pacific hawksbills generally occupied inshore estuaries, wherein they had strong associations with mangrove saltwater forests. The use of inshore habitats and affinities with mangrove saltwater forests presents a previously unknown life-history paradigm for adult hawksbill turtles and suggests a potentially unique evolutionary trajectory for the species. Our findings highlight the variability in life-history strategies that marine turtles and other wide-ranging marine wildlife may exhibit among ocean regions, and the importance of understanding such disparities from an ecological and management perspective. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source

Gaos A.R.,San Diego State University | Gaos A.R.,University of California at Davis | Gaos A.R.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Lewison R.L.,San Diego State University | And 24 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution

Prior to 2008 and the discovery of several important hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) nesting colonies in the EP (Eastern Pacific), the species was considered virtually absent from the region. Research since that time has yielded new insights into EP hawksbills, salient among them being the use of mangrove estuaries for nesting. These recent revelations have raised interest in the genetic characterization of hawksbills in the EP, studies of which have remained lacking to date. Between 2008 and 2014, we collected tissue samples from 269 nesting hawksbills at nine rookeries across the EP and used mitochondrial DNA sequences (766 bp) to generate the first genetic characterization of rookeries in the region. Our results inform genetic diversity, population differentiation, and phylogeography of the species. Hawksbills in the EP demonstrate low genetic diversity: We identified a total of only seven haplotypes across the region, including five new and two previously identified nesting haplotypes (pooled frequencies of 58.4% and 41.6%, respectively), the former only evident in Central American rookeries. Despite low genetic diversity, we found strong stock structure between the four principal rookeries, suggesting the existence of multiple populations and warranting their recognition as distinct management units. Furthermore, haplotypes EiIP106 and EiIP108 are unique to hawksbills that nest in mangrove estuaries, a behavior found only in hawksbills along Pacific Central America. The detected genetic differentiation supports the existence of a novel mangrove estuary "reproductive ecotype" that may warrant additional conservation attention. From a phylogeographic perspective, our research indicates hawksbills colonized the EP via the Indo-Pacific, and do not represent relict populations isolated from the Atlantic by the rising of the Panama Isthmus. Low overall genetic diversity in the EP is likely the combined result of few rookeries, extremely small reproductive populations and evolutionarily recent colonization events. Additional research with larger sample sizes and variable markers will help further genetic understanding of hawksbill turtles in the EP. © 2016 Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

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