University of Tasmania

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Site fidelity and sex-specific migration in a mobile apex predator: implications for conservation and ecosystem dynamics

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 07:12 authored by Barnett, A, Abrantes, KG, Stevens, JD, Jayson SemmensJayson Semmens
Combining movement behaviour with other ecological information of predators and their prey is essential for an adequate understanding of ecosystem dynamics. The movement patterns of broadnose sevengill sharks, Notorynchus cepedianus, were monitored with acoustic and satellite technology in coastal areas of southeast Tasmania, Australia. Individuals were tagged in two habitats (Norfolk Bay and the Derwent Estuary) for which we had ecological information such as diet, population structure and abundance. Notorynchus cepedianus showed seasonal site fidelity in the use of the coastal habitats. The general pattern was for sharks to exit coastal areas over winter and females to return the following spring and males in summer. Their movement into these coastal areas coincided with high seasonal abundance of their known prey species during summer, suggesting feeding site fidelity. Individuals tagged in two coastal areas showed low spatial and dietary overlap, suggesting localized site fidelity and fine spatial scale resource partitioning. This has rarely been reported for large mobile predators. Both satellite and acoustic methods showed that males make northerly migrations during winter to distances of at least 1000 km. The combined use of tracking, diet and abundance information demonstrated that N. cepedianus are likely to exert significant predation pressure on prey inhabiting these areas during summer. Overall, this study highlights the benefit of complementing movement data with other ecological information to understand the habitat use of large mobile predators and their potential influences on ecosystem structure and function.


Publication title

Animal Behaviour










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Academic Press Ltd Elsevier Science Ltd

Place of publication

24-28 Oval Rd, London, England, Nw1 7Dx

Rights statement

Copyright © 2011 The definitive version is available at

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems