Long-term movement patterns and trophic ecology of blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) at Palmyra Atoll

Yannis P. Papastamatiou*, Alan M. Friedlander, Jennifer E. Caselle, Christopher G. Lowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Animal movements, residence times, and subsequently foraging strategies, should vary with habitat quality. We used acoustic and satellite telemetry, as well as stable isotopes, to look at movement patterns, macro-scale habitat use, and trophic ecology of blacktip reef sharks, Carcharhinus melanopterus, between two lagoons (eastern and western) at Palmyra Atoll, a US National Wildlife Refuge in the central Pacific. Sharks in the Palmyra lagoons have relatively small home ranges and appear to obtain most of their energy from the lagoon ecosystem. Sharks showed low levels of migration between lagoons over periods of several years, and individuals in the larger western lagoon tended to have longer residence times than those in the smaller eastern lagoon. Furthermore, for sharks in the western lagoon, there was no relationship between total length (TL) and delta(15)N, (13)C relative isotope concentrations, or a Body Condition index (BC). For sharks in the eastern lagoon, TL was positively related to delta(15)N and negatively related to delta(13)C and BC. These results suggest that there are low levels of mixing of sharks between lagoons, and these are leading to differences in trophic ecology and potentially foraging success. Although the causative factors behind these differences are unknown, shark home range location can potentially lead to variation in trophic ecology, even over small spatial scales. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-102
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2010


  • Acoustic telemetry
  • Foraging ecology
  • Marine Protected Area
  • Palmyra Atoll
  • Reef sharks
  • Satellite telemetry
  • Stable isotopes
  • SIZE
  • FISH


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