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Advances in understanding the roles and benefits of nursery areas for elasmobranch populations

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      Abstract

      Nursery areas are critical to the survival of many marine species, and it is widely accepted that elasmobranch species use nursery areas where they improve species fitness. A 2007 review proposed an approach to identify elasmobranch nursery areas to help clarify their location and use. Here we examine progress towards defining elasmobranch nurseries in the intervening ≥10 years. Many studies have used these criteria, and some have tested their effectiveness, but it is apparent that there is still much to learn. Our current understanding of elasmobranch nurseries is biased towards tropical coastal shark species with few studies of temperate, pelagic, deep-water or batoid species. Recent research has used the criteria to more accurately identify nursery areas, determine that some species may not use them and, at times, improve conservation and management. Results are also revealing that some areas considered to be nurseries do not meet the criteria. Although we have learned a great deal about the location and use of elasmobranch nurseries, there are still several questions to be answered and species to be considered. Continued application of nursery criteria and improved knowledge of nursery areas will lead to improved conservation and management systems.

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      The Identification, Conservation, and Management of Estuarine and Marine Nurseries for Fish and Invertebrates

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        Extinction risk and conservation of the world’s sharks and rays

        The rapid expansion of human activities threatens ocean-wide biodiversity. Numerous marine animal populations have declined, yet it remains unclear whether these trends are symptomatic of a chronic accumulation of global marine extinction risk. We present the first systematic analysis of threat for a globally distributed lineage of 1,041 chondrichthyan fishes—sharks, rays, and chimaeras. We estimate that one-quarter are threatened according to IUCN Red List criteria due to overfishing (targeted and incidental). Large-bodied, shallow-water species are at greatest risk and five out of the seven most threatened families are rays. Overall chondrichthyan extinction risk is substantially higher than for most other vertebrates, and only one-third of species are considered safe. Population depletion has occurred throughout the world’s ice-free waters, but is particularly prevalent in the Indo-Pacific Biodiversity Triangle and Mediterranean Sea. Improved management of fisheries and trade is urgently needed to avoid extinctions and promote population recovery. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00590.001
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          Shark nursery areas: concepts, definition, characterization and assumptions

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Marine and Freshwater Research
            Mar. Freshwater Res.
            CSIRO Publishing
            1323-1650
            2019
            2019
            : 70
            : 7
            : 897
            10.1071/MF18081
            © 2019
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