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Social network analysis reveals potential fission-fusion behavior in a shark
Haulsee, D.E.; Fox, D.A.; Breece, M.W.; Brown, L.M.; Kneebone, J.; Skomal, G.B.; Oliver, M.J. (2016). Social network analysis reveals potential fission-fusion behavior in a shark. NPG Scientific Reports 6(34087): 9 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Carcharias taurus Rafinesque, 1810 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Haulsee, D.E.
  • Fox, D.A.
  • Breece, M.W.
  • Brown, L.M.
  • Kneebone, J.
  • Skomal, G.B.
  • Oliver, M.J.

    Complex social networks and behaviors are difficult to observe for free-living marine species, especially those that move great distances. Using implanted acoustic transceivers to study the inter- and intraspecific interactions of sand tiger sharks Carcharias taurus, we observed group behavior that has historically been associated with higher order mammals. We found evidence strongly suggestive of fission-fusion behavior, or changes in group size and composition of sand tigers, related to five behavioral modes (summering, south migration, community bottleneck, dispersal, north migration). Our study shows sexually dimorphic behavior during migration, in addition to presenting evidence of a potential solitary phase for these typically gregarious sharks. Sand tigers spent up to 95 consecutive and 335 cumulative hours together, with the strongest relationships occurring between males. Species that exhibit fission-fusion group dynamics pose a particularly challenging issue for conservation and management because changes in group size and composition affect population estimates and amplify anthropogenic impacts.

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