Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Paper - Tiger Shark Movements in Australia!

Richard Fitzpatrick and Tiger - source.
This is frankly surprising.

Remember Richard Fitzpatrick?
He's the researcher who was featured in the late Mike deGruy's epic documentary Mysteries of the Shark Coast where he tagged and tracked Reef Sharks at Osprey Reef (paper here!) and then moved on to Raine Island to work on Tigers and Turtles.
This dude.

Even this video is actually surprising.
Like in the above documentary, he suggests that Tigers will roam for hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers like they do in Hawaii and the Northern Atlantic (and here) but then aggregate at Raine Island for the Turtle mating season - very much in line with what has been shown for the Tigers/Albatrosses in French Frigate Shoals

But the actual paper appears to suggest otherwise?
Correct me if I'm wrong - but the way I read it and contrary to the preliminary findings suggested in deGruy's documentary whereby they would be following the Turtles when they leave for their foraging grounds in the Torres Straight, it comes to the conclusion that the Tigers concentrate around Raine Island year-round and merely switch diet when the Turtles are absent. From what I understand (but then maybe I don't), there appears to be enough Tiger Shark food around Raine for them not to have to expend energy on lengthy walkabouts.

If so, it's just another reminder that we should not generalize.
Those large long lived Sharks are obviously not hard wired but instead, they have the capability to develop individual preferences resulting in a high degree of behavioral and trophic plasticity, thus allowing them to best adapt to specific circumstances - as amply demonstrated by the amazing learning potential and vast personality differences between our individual Bulls here at Shark Reef!

Talking of which.
We shall shortly capitalize on precisely those different character traits to run out yet another cool project.
Stay tuned!

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