Movements and habitat use of reef manta rays off eastern Australia: offshore excursions, deep diving and eddy affinity revealed by satellite telemetry

Jaine, F. R. A., Rohner, C. A., Weeks, S. J., Couturier, L. I. E., Bennett, M. B., Townsend, K. A. and Richardson, A. J. (2014) Movements and habitat use of reef manta rays off eastern Australia: offshore excursions, deep diving and eddy affinity revealed by satellite telemetry. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 510 73-86. doi:10.3354/meps10910


Author Jaine, F. R. A.
Rohner, C. A.
Weeks, S. J.
Couturier, L. I. E.
Bennett, M. B.
Townsend, K. A.
Richardson, A. J.
Title Movements and habitat use of reef manta rays off eastern Australia: offshore excursions, deep diving and eddy affinity revealed by satellite telemetry
Journal name Marine Ecology Progress Series   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0171-8630
1616-1599
Publication date 2014-09-09
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/meps10910
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 510
Start page 73
End page 86
Total pages 14
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-Research
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Manta rays (Manta spp.) are plankton-feeding elasmobranchs classified as vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species. Despite increasing public and scientific interest in manta rays, major knowledge gaps concerning their movement ecology and dispersal capabilities remain. Here, we used pop-off satellite-linked archival transmitting tags to examine the horizontal movements and habitat use patterns of reef manta rays (M. alfredi) departing Lady Elliot Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Tagged individuals moved across a latitudinal range of 1035 km, travelling up to 2441 km in 118 d, diving down to 294.5 m and venturing up to 155 km off the continental shelf. Using random walk simulations, we showed that manta rays spent significantly more time in an offshore region characterised by the mesoscale cyclonic Capricorn Eddy than would be expected by chance. A behaviour-switching state-space model suggested this area to be an important foraging ground for M. alfredi off eastern Australia. We document the movements of 1 individual using offshore waters between 2 known aggregation regions off eastern Australia. Reef manta rays thus not only occupy inshore continental shelf and shelf-edge waters but also use offshore environments to exploit productive hotspots and travel long distances. Our findings highlight the need to better understand their movement ecology for effective management.
Keyword Eddy
East Australian Current
Manta alfredi
Movements
Oceanography
Random walk
Satellite tracking
State-space analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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