Behaviour and recovery of juvenile lemon sharks in response to external accelerometer tag attachment

paper3Published online on 29. October 2015

The behaviour and recovery of juvenile lemon sharks Negaprion brevirostris in response to external accelerometer tag attachment

R. W. Bullock, T. L. Guttridge, I. G. Cowx, M. Elliott, S. H. Gruber


Behavioural responses of lemon sharks Negaprion brevirostris to a fin-mounted tag package (CEFAS G6A tri-axial accelerometer with epoxied Sonotronics PT4 acoustic transmitter) were measured in a controlled captive environment (n = 10, total length, LT range 80–140 cm) and in free-ranging sharks upon release (n = 7, LT range100–160 cm). No changes were detected in behaviour (i.e. swimming speed, tailbeat frequency, time spent resting and frequency of chafing) between control and tagged captive shark trials, suggesting that the tag package itself does not alter behaviour. In the free-ranging trials, an initial period of elevated swimming activity was found in all individuals (represented by overall dynamic body acceleration). Negaprion brevirostris, however, appeared to recover quickly, returning to a steady swimming state between 2 and 35 min after release. Post-release tracking found that all sharks swim immediately for the shoreline and remain within 100 m of shore for prolonged periods. Hence, although N. brevirostris are capable of quick adaptation to stressors and demonstrate rapid recovery in terms of activity, tracking data suggest that they may modify their spatial use patterns post release. This research is important in separating deviation in behaviour due to environmental stressors from artefacts caused by experimental techniques.

Journal of Fish Biology. Early View Version, doi: 10.1111/jfb.12808



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