Whale sharks target dense prey patches of sergestid shrimp off Tanzania

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/346997
Title:
Whale sharks target dense prey patches of sergestid shrimp off Tanzania
Authors:
Rohner, C. A.; Armstrong, A. J.; Pierce, S. J.; Prebble, C. E. M.; Cagua, E. F.; Cochran, J. E. M.; Berumen, Michael L. ( 0000-0003-2463-2742 ) ; Richardson, A. J.
Abstract:
Large planktivores require high-density prey patches to make feeding energetically viable. This is a major challenge for species living in tropical and subtropical seas, such as whale sharks Rhincodon typus. Here, we characterize zooplankton biomass, size structure and taxonomic composition from whale shark feeding events and background samples at Mafia Island, Tanzania. The majority of whale sharks were feeding (73%, 380 of 524 observations), with the most common behaviour being active surface feeding (87%). We used 20 samples collected from immediately adjacent to feeding sharks and an additional 202 background samples for comparison to show that plankton biomass was ∼10 times higher in patches where whale sharks were feeding (25 vs. 2.6 mg m-3). Taxonomic analyses of samples showed that the large sergestid Lucifer hanseni (∼10 mm) dominated while sharks were feeding, accounting for ∼50% of identified items, while copepods (<2 mm) dominated background samples. The size structure was skewed towards larger animals representative of L.hanseni in feeding samples. Thus, whale sharks at Mafia Island target patches of dense, large, zooplankton dominated by sergestids. Large planktivores, such as whale sharks, which generally inhabit warm oligotrophic waters, aggregate in areas where they can feed on dense prey to obtain sufficient energy. © 2015 © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
KAUST Department:
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
Citation:
Whale sharks target dense prey patches of sergestid shrimp off Tanzania 2015 Journal of Plankton Research
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Journal:
Journal of Plankton Research
Issue Date:
17-Mar-2015
DOI:
10.1093/plankt/fbv010
PubMed ID:
25814777
PubMed Central ID:
PMC4371762
Type:
Article
ISSN:
0142-7873; 1464-3774
Additional Links:
http://www.plankt.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/doi/10.1093/plankt/fbv010
Appears in Collections:
Articles; Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorRohner, C. A.en
dc.contributor.authorArmstrong, A. J.en
dc.contributor.authorPierce, S. J.en
dc.contributor.authorPrebble, C. E. M.en
dc.contributor.authorCagua, E. F.en
dc.contributor.authorCochran, J. E. M.en
dc.contributor.authorBerumen, Michael L.en
dc.contributor.authorRichardson, A. J.en
dc.date.accessioned2015-03-23T08:19:14Zen
dc.date.available2015-03-23T08:19:14Zen
dc.date.issued2015-03-17en
dc.identifier.citationWhale sharks target dense prey patches of sergestid shrimp off Tanzania 2015 Journal of Plankton Researchen
dc.identifier.issn0142-7873en
dc.identifier.issn1464-3774en
dc.identifier.pmid25814777en
dc.identifier.doi10.1093/plankt/fbv010en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/346997en
dc.description.abstractLarge planktivores require high-density prey patches to make feeding energetically viable. This is a major challenge for species living in tropical and subtropical seas, such as whale sharks Rhincodon typus. Here, we characterize zooplankton biomass, size structure and taxonomic composition from whale shark feeding events and background samples at Mafia Island, Tanzania. The majority of whale sharks were feeding (73%, 380 of 524 observations), with the most common behaviour being active surface feeding (87%). We used 20 samples collected from immediately adjacent to feeding sharks and an additional 202 background samples for comparison to show that plankton biomass was ∼10 times higher in patches where whale sharks were feeding (25 vs. 2.6 mg m-3). Taxonomic analyses of samples showed that the large sergestid Lucifer hanseni (∼10 mm) dominated while sharks were feeding, accounting for ∼50% of identified items, while copepods (<2 mm) dominated background samples. The size structure was skewed towards larger animals representative of L.hanseni in feeding samples. Thus, whale sharks at Mafia Island target patches of dense, large, zooplankton dominated by sergestids. Large planktivores, such as whale sharks, which generally inhabit warm oligotrophic waters, aggregate in areas where they can feed on dense prey to obtain sufficient energy. © 2015 © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.en
dc.publisherOxford University Press (OUP)en
dc.relation.urlhttp://www.plankt.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/doi/10.1093/plankt/fbv010en
dc.rightsThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.en
dc.titleWhale sharks target dense prey patches of sergestid shrimp off Tanzaniaen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)en
dc.identifier.journalJournal of Plankton Researchen
dc.identifier.pmcidPMC4371762en
dc.eprint.versionPublisher's Version/PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionMarine Megafauna Foundation, Praia Do Tofo, Inhambane, Mozambiqueen
dc.contributor.institutionOceans and Atmosphere Flagship, Csiro Marine and Atmospheric Research, Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australiaen
dc.contributor.institutionWild Me, Tofo Beach, Inhambane, Mozambiqueen
dc.contributor.institutionCentre for Applications in Natural Resource Mathematics (CARM), School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australiaen
dc.contributor.affiliationKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)en
kaust.authorCagua, Edgar F.en
kaust.authorCochran, Jesseen
kaust.authorBerumen, Michael L.en

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