Does the whale shark aggregate along the Western Australian coastline beyond Ningaloo Reef?

Norman, Bradley M., Reynolds, Samantha and Morgan, David L. (2016) Does the whale shark aggregate along the Western Australian coastline beyond Ningaloo Reef?. Pacific Conservation Biology, 22 1: 72-80. doi:10.1071/PC15045


Author Norman, Bradley M.
Reynolds, Samantha
Morgan, David L.
Title Does the whale shark aggregate along the Western Australian coastline beyond Ningaloo Reef?
Journal name Pacific Conservation Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1038-2097
Publication date 2016-04-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/PC15045
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 22
Issue 1
Start page 72
End page 80
Total pages 9
Place of publication Clayton, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) seasonally aggregate at Western Australia's Ningaloo Reef in the austral autumn and winter, but their occurrence beyond this region during spring and summer remains elusive. The aggregation at Ningaloo Reef coincides with a pulse of productivity following mass coral spawning in early autumn, with the population during this period dominated by juveniles that amass for feeding purposes. To investigate their movement patterns beyond Ningaloo Reef, whale sharks were fitted with SPOT ( n = 13) or SPLASH (n =1) tags between April and September (2010-14). Tagged whale sharks ranged in total length from 3 to 9m. Each whale shark was also photographed for its subsequent identification using Wildbook for Whale Sharks, and their years of residency at Ningaloo Reef determined. Temporal and spatial observations of whale shark sightings were also determined through the conducting of interviews with people throughout 14 coastal towns along the Western Australian coastline, as well as through historical sightings and the Wildbook database. Satellite tracking revealed that all sharks remained relatively close to the Western Australian coast, travelling a mean minimum distance of 1667 (±316, s.e.)km. Public reports, coupled with satellite tracking, demonstrated that whale sharks inhabit most of the Western Australian coast (from 35°S to 12°S), and that seasonal migrations beyond Ningaloo Reef may be to the north or south and may similarly be associated with areas of increased productivity.
Keyword Elasmobranch
Photo-identification
Satellite tagging.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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