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      Using Stable Isotope Analysis to Understand the Migration and Trophic Ecology of Northeastern Pacific White Sharks ( Carcharodon carcharias)

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          Abstract

          The white shark ( Carcharodon carcharias) is a wide-ranging apex predator in the northeastern Pacific (NEP). Electronic tagging has demonstrated that white sharks exhibit a regular migratory pattern, occurring at coastal sites during the late summer, autumn and early winter and moving offshore to oceanic habitats during the remainder of the year, although the purpose of these migrations remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to use stable isotope analysis (SIA) to provide insight into the trophic ecology and migratory behaviors of white sharks in the NEP. Between 2006 and 2009, 53 white sharks were biopsied in central California to obtain dermal and muscle tissues, which were analyzed for stable isotope values of carbon (δ 13C) and nitrogen (δ 15N). We developed a mixing model that directly incorporates movement data and tissue incorporation (turnover) rates to better estimate the relative importance of different focal areas to white shark diet and elucidate their migratory behavior. Mixing model results for muscle showed a relatively equal dietary contribution from coastal and offshore regions, indicating that white sharks forage in both areas. However, model results indicated that sharks foraged at a higher relative rate in coastal habitats. There was a negative relationship between shark length and muscle δ 13C and δ 15N values, which may indicate ontogenetic changes in habitat use related to onset of maturity. The isotopic composition of dermal tissue was consistent with a more rapid incorporation rate than muscle and may represent more recent foraging. Low offshore consumption rates suggest that it is unlikely that foraging is the primary purpose of the offshore migrations. These results demonstrate how SIA can provide insight into the trophic ecology and migratory behavior of marine predators, especially when coupled with electronic tagging data.

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          Most cited references 169

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          Influence of diet on the distribution of carbon isotopes in animals

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            USING STABLE ISOTOPES TO ESTIMATE TROPHIC POSITION: MODELS, METHODS, AND ASSUMPTIONS

             David Post (2002)
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              Stable Isotopes in Ecosystem Studies

               B Peterson,  B Fry (1987)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2012
                15 February 2012
                : 7
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Pacific Grove, California, United States of America
                [2 ]University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, United States of America
                [3 ]Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, United States of America
                [4 ]Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, United States of America
                [5 ]Point Reyes National Seashore, Inverness, California, United States of America
                [6 ]University of California Davis, Davis, California, United States of America
                [7 ]Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie, Radolfzell, Germany
                [8 ]Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States of America
                Dalhousie University, Canada
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: ABC SLK SJJ. Performed the experiments: ABC SLK BXS. Analyzed the data: ABC SLK BXS DJM. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: ABC SLK DJM SJJ CRP SDA TKC PEK BAB. Wrote the paper: ABC DJM SLK BXS SJJ CRP BAB.

                Article
                PONE-D-10-04202
                10.1371/journal.pone.0030492
                3280240
                22355313
                Carlisle et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 15
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology
                Ecology
                Community Ecology
                Marine Biology
                Zoology
                Earth Sciences
                Geochemistry
                Marine and Aquatic Sciences
                Oceanography
                Oceans

                Uncategorized

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