Movements and residency of Caribbean reef sharks at a remote atoll in Belize, Central America

We investigated spatial use patterns of 77 Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) at Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize over 7 years using residency patterns, kernel density (KD) estimation and network analysis. We found a high degree individual variation in spatial use of the atoll, but there were significant differences in residency and activity space between sexes, with females being overall more resident. Ontogenetic shifts in movement and residency were largely limited to females, as the residency index increased and activity space estimates decreased as females matured, while for males there was no relationship between space use or residency and size. KD analysis revealed many mature females were highly resident to discrete locations, and average activity space of the intermediate-sized sharks was significantly larger than that of the adults, but not the smallest sharks. Markov chain analyses indicated that the southwestern portion of the atoll was the most important movement corridor for all sharks…


Ivy E. Baremore1, Rachel T. Graham1, George
H. Burgess2 and Daniel W. Castellanos1

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