Point Reyes National Seashore

National City, CA, United States

Point Reyes National Seashore

National City, CA, United States
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Carlisle A.B.,Stanford University | Kim S.L.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Semmens B.X.,University of California at San Diego | Madigan D.J.,Stanford University | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

The white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a wide-ranging apex predator in the northeastern Pacific (NEP). Electronic tagging has demonstrated that white sharks exhibit a regular migratory pattern, occurring at coastal sites during the late summer, autumn and early winter and moving offshore to oceanic habitats during the remainder of the year, although the purpose of these migrations remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to use stable isotope analysis (SIA) to provide insight into the trophic ecology and migratory behaviors of white sharks in the NEP. Between 2006 and 2009, 53 white sharks were biopsied in central California to obtain dermal and muscle tissues, which were analyzed for stable isotope values of carbon (δ 13C) and nitrogen (δ 15N). We developed a mixing model that directly incorporates movement data and tissue incorporation (turnover) rates to better estimate the relative importance of different focal areas to white shark diet and elucidate their migratory behavior. Mixing model results for muscle showed a relatively equal dietary contribution from coastal and offshore regions, indicating that white sharks forage in both areas. However, model results indicated that sharks foraged at a higher relative rate in coastal habitats. There was a negative relationship between shark length and muscle δ 13C and δ 15N values, which may indicate ontogenetic changes in habitat use related to onset of maturity. The isotopic composition of dermal tissue was consistent with a more rapid incorporation rate than muscle and may represent more recent foraging. Low offshore consumption rates suggest that it is unlikely that foraging is the primary purpose of the offshore migrations. These results demonstrate how SIA can provide insight into the trophic ecology and migratory behavior of marine predators, especially when coupled with electronic tagging data. © 2012 Carlisle et al.

Jorgensen S.J.,Stanford University | Reeb C.A.,Stanford University | Chapple T.K.,University of California at Davis | Anderson S.,Point Reyes National Seashore | And 6 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

Advances in electronic tagging and genetic research are making it possible to discern population structure for pelagic marine predators once thought to be panmictic. However, reconciling migration patterns and gene flow to define the resolution of discrete population management units remains a major challenge, and a vital conservation priority for threatened species such as oceanic sharks. Many such species have been flagged for international protection, yet effective population assessments and management actions are hindered by lack of knowledge about the geographical extent and size of distinct populations. Combining satellite tagging, passive acoustic monitoring and genetics, we reveal how eastern Pacific white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) adhere to a highly predictable migratory cycle. Individuals persistently return to the same network of coastal hotspots following distant oceanic migrations and comprise a population genetically distinct from previously identified phylogenetic clades. We hypothesize that this strong homing behaviour has maintained the separation of a northeastern Pacific population following a historical introduction from Australia/New Zealand migrants during the Late Pleistocene. Concordance between contemporary movement and genetic divergence based on mitochondrial DNA demonstrates a demographically independent management unit not previously recognized. This population's fidelity to discrete and predictable locations offers clear population assessment, monitoring and management options. © 2009 The Royal Society.

Chapple T.K.,University of California at Davis | Chapple T.K.,Max Planck Institute | Jorgensen S.J.,Stanford University | Jorgensen S.J.,Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute | And 5 more authors.
Biology Letters | Year: 2011

The decline of sharks in the global oceans underscores the need for careful assessment and monitoring of remaining populations. The northeastern Pacific is the home range for a genetically distinct clade of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). Little is known about the conservation status of this demographically isolated population, concentrated seasonally at two discrete aggregation sites: Central California (CCA) and Guadalupe Island, Mexico. We used photo-identification of dorsal fins in a sequential Bayesian mark-recapture algorithm to estimate white shark abundance off CCA. We collected 321 photographs identifying 130 unique individuals, and estimated the abundance off CCA to be 219 mature and sub-adult individuals ((130, 275) 95% credible intervals), substantially smaller than populations of other large marine predators. Our methods can be readily expanded to estimate shark population abundance at other locations, and over time, to monitor the status, population trends and protection needs of these globally distributed predators. © 2011 The Royal Society.

Jorgensen S.J.,Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute | Jorgensen S.J.,Stanford University | Arnoldi N.S.,Stanford University | Estess E.E.,Stanford University | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Elucidating how mobile ocean predators utilize the pelagic environment is vital to understanding the dynamics of oceanic species and ecosystems. Pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tags have emerged as an important tool to describe animal migrations in oceanic environments where direct observation is not feasible. Available PAT tag data, however, are for the most part limited to geographic position, swimming depth and environmental temperature, making effective behavioral observation challenging. However, novel analysis approaches have the potential to extend the interpretive power of these limited observations. Here we developed an approach based on clustering analysis of PAT daily time-at-depth histogram records to distinguish behavioral modes in white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). We found four dominant and distinctive behavioral clusters matching previously described behavioral patterns, including two distinctive offshore diving modes. Once validated, we mapped behavior mode occurrence in space and time. Our results demonstrate spatial, temporal and sex-based structure in the diving behavior of white sharks in the northeastern Pacific previously unrecognized including behavioral and migratory patterns resembling those of species with lek mating systems. We discuss our findings, in combination with available life history and environmental data, and propose specific testable hypotheses to distinguish between mating and foraging in northeastern Pacific white sharks that can provide a framework for future work. Our methodology can be applied to similar datasets from other species to further define behaviors during unobservable phases. © 2012 Jorgensen et al.

Condit R.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute | Reiter J.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Morris P.A.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Berger R.,Point Reyes Bird Observatory | And 2 more authors.
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2014

The aim of this study was to extend 40 yr of prior demographic work on northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) at Año Nuevo, California, by including the oldest animals. We used a Bayesian mark-recapture analysis to estimate lifelong survival and lifespan of a cohort of 372 weaned pups branded in 1985-1987 and resighted until 2008. Annual survival probability of females averaged 86.3%/yr at ages 5-16, then declined until age 21, the age of the oldest female. Male survival was lower, averaging 67.7%/yr from age 1 to age 15, the age of the oldest male. Northern elephant seal females in the expanding population at Año Nuevo live longer than southern elephant seal females (M. leonina) at colonies whose populations are declining. This comparison suggests that high survival of females is a key factor in population growth. © 2013 by the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

Fellers G.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Wood L.,1080 Greenfield Rd | Carlisle S.,Point Reyes National Seashore | Pratt D.,628 BarberaPlace
Herpetological Conservation and Biology | Year: 2010

Larval Dicamptodon are one of the most abundant vertebrates in headwater streams in the Pacific Northwest. Their numbers and biomass can exceed those of all other amphibians, and of salmonid fishes. By contrast, metamorphosed Dicamptodon are only found infrequently, usually during formal surveys using pitfall traps, cover boards, or time constrained surveys However, we found two aggregations (23 and 27 individuals) of metamorphosed Dicamptodon ensatus during a culvert removal project at Point Reyes National Seashore, California. Furthermore, we found an additional 23 terrestrial D. ensatus in terrestrial habitat adjacent to the culverts. We did not expect these aggregations because metamorphosed individuals are so rarely encountered, and aggregations are likely to increase competition and predation in a species known to feed regularly on vertebrate prey. Deteriorating culverts might provide an unusually high-quality habitat that leads to aggregations such as we describe. Our observations may provide insight into the natural haunts of D. ensatus-underground burrows or caverns-and if so, then aggregations may be normal, but rarely seen.

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