Diving behaviour of whale sharks in relation to a predictable food pulse

R T Graham, C M Roberts, J C R Smart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present diving data for four whale sharks in relation to a predictable food pulse (reef fish spawn) and an analysis of the longest continuous fine-resolution diving record for a planktivorous shark. Fine-resolution pressure data from a recovered pop-up archival satellite tag deployed for 206 days on a whale shark were analysed using the fast Fourier Transform method for frequency domain analysis of time-series. The results demonstrated that a free-ranging whale shark displays ultradian, diel and circa-lunar rhythmicity of diving behaviour. Whale sharks dive to over 979.5 m and can tolerate a temperature range of 26.4 degrees C. The whale sharks made primarily diurnal deep dives and remained in relatively shallow waters at night. Whale shark diving patterns are influenced by a seasonally predictable food source, with shallower dives made during fish spawning periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalInterface
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2006

Bibliographical note

© 2005 The Royal Society

Keywords

  • elasmobranch
  • circadian
  • rhythmicity
  • Fourier transform
  • satellite telemetry
  • diving behaviour
  • RHINCODON-TYPUS
  • FEEDING-ACTIVITY
  • MOVEMENTS
  • CALIFORNIA
  • TELEMETRY
  • TRACKING
  • RHYTHM

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