Movement ranges and time scales in marine predators – acute and seasonal environmental drivers.

Principal Investigator: Dr Malcolm Smale

This project will investigate environmental drivers that initiate both local movements (in Algoa Bay) and coastal migrations of two teleost and shark species. Its success will depend on SAIAB’s ATAP (including OTN) network of ultrasonic listening stations in Algoa Bay and other nodes along the South African coast. Marine environmental data will also be obtained from SAEON’s existing environmental monitoring platform in Algoa Bay, and to a lesser extent, at other research nodes along the coast. This study will make use of multi-year ultrasonic tags to establish movement patterns of four marine predators and adopt a comparative approach to allow for a broader scale of interpreting environmental-biological linkages. The results will inform management practices of these species that are either protected or experiencing significant population reductions from their pristine state. The investigation of environmental influences on life histories and movement will contribute to a better understanding of the likely impacts of global climate change.

Team
Dr Malcolm Smale (BayWorld)
Professor Paul Cowley (SAIAB)
Dr Matt Dicken (KZN Sharksboard)
Dr Amber Childs (Rhodes University/SAIAB)

Students
Tarryn Murray (PhD Rhodes University)