VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL MOVEMENTS OF THE SCALLOPED HAMMERHEAD SHARK (SPHYRNA LEWINI) AROUND MALPELO AND COCOS ISLANDS (TROPICAL EASTERN PACIFIC) USING SATELLITE TELEMETRY
Understanding distribution ranges and the daily movement patterns of pelagic fishes are key aspects for the establishment and planning of protected areas for their conservation. In this study the vertical and horizontal movements of scalloped hammerhead sharks, Sphyrna lewini, were recorded in Malpelo and Cocos Island using satellite telemetry. Nine sharks were tagged with satellite transmitters during March 2006, 2007 and 2008 at Malpelo Island, and three hammerhead sharks were tagged at Cocos Island in June 2008. The sharks moved between islands in the Tropical Eastern Pacific and made regional movements from Malpelo to the south of Cocos and around the Malpelo ridge. When away from the island, sharks made infrequent nocturnal short dives down to 1000 m where temperatures were as low as 4 °C. For a shark that was tracked for five months, results indicated significant differences between the time spent at different depth ranges, as well as an interaction between depth, water layers, and the time of the day. The shark swam mostly at surface waters (0-10 m) during the cold water season, and spent more time at the deepest depth range (>100 m) during nigh time. Further long-term studies on shark movement patterns are required for a better management of this highly mobile and vulnerable species.
Satellite telemetry; Vertical and horizontal movements; Sphyrna lewini; Malpelo; Cocos
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