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

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Publication details

DatePublished - 22 Feb 2006
Issue number6
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)109-116
Original languageEnglish


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.

Bibliographical note

© 2005 The Royal Society

    Research areas

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

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