Fine-scale spatial and seasonal partitioning among large sharks and other elasmobranchs in south-eastern Queensland, AustraliaPublished on 24 June 2011.
Stephen Taylor, Wayne Sumpton and Tony Ham.
Our understanding of the ecological role of larger elasmobranchs is limited by a lack of information on their spatial and seasonal abundance. Analysis of 14 years of gill-net catch data in south-eastern Queensland, Australia, revealed that the species composition of large sharks and other elasmobranchs significantly differed among beaches and seasons. Spinner sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) and hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna spp.) comprised nearly half the catch of all elasmobranchs. Although the distribution of these sharks overlapped, spatial variation existed in their abundance. Spinner sharks characterised the catch at Sunshine Coast beaches, whereas the catch at Gold Coast beaches was dominated by hammerhead sharks. Seasonal differences in elasmobranch community structure were also apparent, driven largely by a lower abundance of many species during the winter and the predominance of species such as spinner sharks and hammerheads in spring and summer. The present study provides the first quantitative data for numerous species of Carcharhiniformes in south-eastern Queensland and demonstrates that analysis of catch-rate data can improve our understanding of how larger sharks partition resources.
Marine and Freshwater Research 62(6) 638-647 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF10154