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Movement patterns and habitat use of smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata, determined using pop-up satellite archival tags

Authors

  • J. K. Carlson,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Panama City Laboratory, Panama City, FL, USA
    • Correspondence to: J. Carlson, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Panama City Laboratory, Panama City, FL, USA. E-mail: john.carlson@noaa.gov

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  • S. J. B. Gulak,

    1. National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Panama City Laboratory, Panama City, FL, USA
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  • C. A. Simpfendorfer,

    1. Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries & Aquaculture and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • R. D. Grubbs,

    1. Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, St. Teresa, FL, USA
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  • J. G. Romine,

    1. Florida Program for Shark Research, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
    2. United States Geological Survey Western Fisheries Research Center, Columbia River Research Laboratory, Cook, WA, USA
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  • G.H. Burgess

    1. Florida Program for Shark Research, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
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ABSTRACT

  1. Research on rare and threatened species is often limited by access to sufficient individuals to acquire information needed to design appropriate conservation measures.
  2. Using a combination of data from pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tags across multiple institutional programmes, movements and habitat use of endangered smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata were determined for animals from southern Florida and the Bahamas.
  3. All P. pectinata (n = 12) generally remained in coastal waters within the region where they were initially tagged, travelling an average of 80.2 km from deployment to pop-up location. The shortest distance moved was 4.6 km and the greatest 279.1 km, averaging 1.4 km day-1. Seasonal movement rates for females were significantly different with the greatest movements in autumn and winter.
  4. Pristis pectinata spent the majority of their time at shallow depths (96% of their time at depths <10 m) and warm water temperatures (22–28°C).
  5. Given sawfish show a degree of site fidelity punctuated by limited migratory movements emphasizes the need for conservation and management of existing coastal habitats throughout the species’ range.

Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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