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Gold Coast, Australia

Werry J.M.,Griffith University | Werry J.M.,Ocean and Coast Research | Clua E.,French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
Aquatic Living Resources | Year: 2013

Conservation of threatened large sharks and management of shark-human interactions requires an understanding of shark occurrence and movement patterns. Here, we present the first catch, movement and behaviour data of adult bull sharks, Carcharhinus leucas, in New Caledonia. Amongst six adult C. leucas tagged with passive acoustic tags, four females were caught in coastal waters while males were only found at an isolated oceanic barrier coral reef over 100 km from the nearest river mouth. Two females were monitored in the southern New Caledonia lagoon for 707 and 208 days respectively and displayed classical transient behaviour and sporadic short-term residency around a coastal reef bay, with movements in and out a river detected prior to spring. Adult C. leucas in New Caledonia may develop a sex-based spatial segregation with an atypical presence of adult males in oceanic environments, probably influenced by the unique estuarine-marine continuum of the New Caledonian great lagoon. © 2013 EDP Sciences, IFREMER, IRD. Source

Werry J.M.,Griffith University | Werry J.M.,Ocean and Coast Research | Berumen M.L.,King Abdullah University of Science and Technology | Berumen M.L.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Knowledge of the habitat use and migration patterns of large sharks is important for assessing the effectiveness of large predator Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), vulnerability to fisheries and environmental influences, and management of shark-human interactions. Here we compare movement, reef-fidelity, and ocean migration for tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the Coral Sea, with an emphasis on New Caledonia. Thirty-three tiger sharks (1.54 to 3.9 m total length) were tagged with passive acoustic transmitters and their localised movements monitored on receiver arrays in New Caledonia, the Chesterfield and Lord Howe Islands in the Coral Sea, and the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Satellite tags were also used to determine habitat use and movements among habitats across the Coral Sea. Sub-adults and one male adult tiger shark displayed year-round residency in the Chesterfields with two females tagged in the Chesterfields and detected on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, after 591 and 842 days respectively. In coastal barrier reefs, tiger sharks were transient at acoustic arrays and each individual demonstrated a unique pattern of occurrence. From 2009 to 2013, fourteen sharks with satellite and acoustic tags undertook wide-ranging movements up to 1114 km across the Coral Sea with eight detected back on acoustic arrays up to 405 days after being tagged. Tiger sharks dove 1136 m and utilised three-dimensional activity spaces averaged at 2360 km3. The Chesterfield Islands appear to be important habitat for sub-adults and adult male tiger sharks. Management strategies need to consider the wide-ranging movements of large (sub-adult and adult) male and female tiger sharks at the individual level, whereas fidelity to specific coastal reefs may be consistent across groups of individuals. Coastal barrier reef MPAs, however, only afford brief protection for large tiger sharks, therefore determining the importance of other oceanic Coral Sea reefs should be a priority for future research. © 2014 Werry et al. Source

Clua E.,French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries | Chauvet C.,University of New Caledonia | Read T.,Griffith University | Werry J.M.,Griffith University | And 2 more authors.
Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology | Year: 2013

Tiger Sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, are large top-level predators usually solitary as adults. Observation of their scavenging activity on the carcass of a dead whale offered a rare opportunity for better understanding the pattern of intra-specific behaviour within the aggregations of these large predators. In January 2002, the stranding, subsequent death and consumption of a 17.4 m total length (TL) blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus, was observed and filmed in Prony Bay, southern New Caledonia. After three weeks of confinement in the bay, the cetacean was killed by adult bullsharks Carcharhinus leucas. The first adult Tiger Shark was subsequently observed around the carcass after 36 h. The fat slicks from the carcass attracted further Tiger Sharks which arrived after an additional 24 h. The use of photo-identification on video footage collected during four observation sessions over an eight-day period identified 46 individual Tiger Sharks (primarily adult females between 3.3 and 4 m TL) participating in the feeding aggregation. Only four animals were identified in two seperate observation sessions (over two consecutive days), suggesting a short-term residency pattern of several hours (<36 h) around the carcass. As the arrival time of Tiger Sharks to the carcass differed, most arrivals of a new participant were followed by a frenzied period of intense intra-specific interaction. Different biting and agonistic behaviours were demonstrated by the Tiger Sharks on the carcass, including three new behaviours previously undescribed for this species. Size and level of aggressiveness appeared to be the determining factors of dominance amongst Tiger Sharks. These observations and analysis demonstrate that systematic study of feeding aggregations supported by photo-identification could contribute to knowledge of large shark ecology when coupled with capture-recapture, genetic fingerprinting and tagging techniques. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

Corrigan S.,College of Charleston | Kacev D.,San Diego State University | Werry J.,Ocean and Coast Research | Werry J.,Griffith University
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2015

This article documents a case of genetic polyandry in the oceanic and pelagic shortfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus and briefly comments on the implications of this finding. © 2015 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles. Source

Werry J.M.,Griffith University | Werry J.M.,Ocean and Coast Research | Lee S.Y.,Griffith University | Otway N.M.,Port Stephens Fisheries Institute | And 2 more authors.
Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2011

Understanding the ontogenetic habitat linkages of sharks is important for conservation and managing human interactions. We used acoustic telemetry, catch data, elemental and stable isotope signatures and dietary analyses to investigate ontogenetic habitat use in south-east Queensland, Australia, by the bull shark Carcharhinus leucas, a IUCN 'near-threatened' species that is implicated in many shark attacks on humans in urban estuaries. Sequential analyses for 15N and 13C of vertebrae from five adult C. leucas and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) for elemental composition from 23 C. leucas, including a pregnant female, were also used to trace ontogenetic habitat dependence. Acoustic telemetry indicated large juvenile and subadult C. leucas remained in estuarine habitats. 15N values across shark vertebrae showed an ontogenetic shift in diet with total length (TL), confirmed by stomach contents. LA-ICPMS data reflected the ontogenetic movements of C. leucas from natal habitats. Differences among adults were gender related. Shifts in habitat use by subadults were correlated with a sigmoidal 13C relationship with TL. C. leucas have a multipartite, stage-specific dependency in their transition between habitats along the freshwaterestuarinemarine continuum, making them particularly susceptible to the habitat alteration that is occurring globally. © 2011 CSIRO. Source

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