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Movement, Migration and Social Networks in Wild Port Jackson Sharks

Wild Shark Social Networks

Understanding the functions of grouping behaviour and movement patterns in sharks is essential for assessing their vulnerability to human threats such as overfishing and habitat destruction. This project aims to obtain a better undertsanidng of shark migration patterns and social behaviour using Port Jackson sharks as a model species. Behavioural and movement data are being collected from Port Jackson Shark breeding groups in Sydney Harbour and the Jervis Bay Marine Park using novel acoustic monitoring and genetic techniques. Our preliminary results from data collected since 2012  show that Port Jackson sharks show extremely high levels of site fidelity to their breeding sites in Jervis Bay, returning to the same breeding sites year after year. This creates opportuinities for social interactions to develop among sharks, although we are still working to understand the dynamics of their social networks.  This work is being continued in 2016 to further explore the diversity of social behaviour of individual sharks and their spatial learning abilities, which allow the sharks to return to return to the same breeding sites following long-distance migrations. The techniques developed in this project could be extrapolated to protect and learn about other highly mobile marine species.

Project partners:

Taronga: Dr Jo Day
Macquarie University: A/Prof Culum Brown
NSW Fisheries: Dr Nathan Knott 
Bimini Biological Field Station: Tristan Guttridge

For more information contact:

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