Do they stay or do they go? Acoustic monitoring of whale sharks at Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia

B. M. Norman, J. M. Whitty, S. J. Beatty, S. D. Reynolds, D. L. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Whale sharks Rhincodon typus were monitored via acoustic transmitters at the northern end of Western Australia's Ningaloo Marine Park to establish the extent to which the species inhabits the region beyond the whale-shark ecotourism industry season, which usually extends from March to August in each year. Despite the vast majority (c. 98%) of photographic submissions of R. typus from Ningaloo Reef being between March and August, acoustic detections from the tagged R. typus at Ningaloo were recorded in all months of the year, but do not preclude the occurrence of extended absences. It is concluded that as a species, R. typus occurs year round at Ningaloo, where it generally remains in close proximity to the reef edge, but that some individuals move outside of the detection range of the array for extended periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1713-1720
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of fish biology
Volume91
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NRETA is supported by the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), Australian Institute of Marine Sciences and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research (Ecosciences Precinct), who maintain and download the acoustic receivers at Ningaloo Reef. The acoustic data were sourced as part of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and the Super Science Initiative. IMOS-AATAMS also provided in-kind support and technical assistance as did Murdoch University, ECOCEAN Australia volunteers, the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) and the members of the Ningaloo Whale Shark Ecotourism Industry. Funding for this project was forthcoming from the Winifred Violet Scott Charitable Trust, the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, Murdoch University and various private donors. In addition, this research has made use of data and software tools provided by Wildbook for Whale Sharks, an online mark–recapture database operated by the non-profit scientific organization Wild Me with support from public donations and the Qatar whale shark research project. This work was conducted under permits from the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Murdoch University Animal Ethics Committee.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles

Copyright:
Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • AATAMS
  • IMOS
  • Ningaloo Reef
  • Rhincodon typus
  • photo-identification
  • telemetry

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