Knowledge of the spatial ecology and movement of animals contributes to our understanding of intra- and inter-specific interactions and ecosystem dynamics, and can inform conservation actions. Here we assessed the space use and activity levels of a marine predator, the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi), in coastal regions of Eleuthera, The Bahamas over a 60-day period using acoustic telemetry. Of the 14 adult sharks (eight males, six females) tagged with acoustic transmitters (equipped with accelerometer sensor), nine were detected in a 14 km2 gridded receiver array. Male sharks were significantly less likely to be detected over time relative to females. Given post-release survival is typically high in C. perezi, this finding may indicate that males have larger home ranges and may exhibit lower site fidelity compared to females. Patterns of space use indicated C. perezi primarily occupied the outer reef shelf and were rarely detected on the interior of the reef. Shark activity levels (inferred from acceleration profiles) were highest in close proximity to the reef shelf. Our findings indicate C. perezi individuals frequently occupy deeper water habitats, but make forays into reef shelf habitats where high activity levels are likely related to foraging.

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Keywords Accelerometer, Biologging, Biotelemetry, Conservation, Elasmobranch, Habitat use
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Journal Environmental Biology of Fishes
Shipley, O.N. (Oliver N.), Brownscombe, J.W. (Jacob W.), Danylchuk, A.J. (Andy J.), Cooke, S.J, O’Shea, O.R. (Owen R.), & Brooks, E.J. (Edward J.). (2017). Fine-scale movement and activity patterns of Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) in the Bahamas. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 1–8. doi:10.1007/s10641-017-0656-4