Human-induced shifts in habitat use and behaviour of a marine predator: the effects of bait provisioning in the blacktip reef shark

Type Article
Date 2021-04
Language English
Author(s) Mourier Johann1, 2, Claudet Joachim3, Planes S.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : PSL Université Paris; EPHE-UPVD-CNRS; USR 3278 CRIOBE; Perpignan, France
2 : MARBEC; Univ Montpellier; CNRS; IFREMER; IRD; Sète, France
3 : National Center for Scientific Research; PSL Université Paris; EPHE-UPVD-CNRS; USR 3278 CRIOBE; Paris, France
Source Animal Conservation (1367-9430) (Wiley), 2021-04 , Vol. 24 , N. 2 , P. 230-238
DOI 10.1111/acv.12630
WOS© Times Cited 11
Keyword(s) wildlife provisioning, shark, coral reef, habitat use, sexual segregation, wildlife tourism, Control-Impact design

While the negative effects of consumptive pressures on marine predators are well established, the effects of increasing non‐consumptive activities such as wildlife tourism are still understudied. As such, the long‐term effects of the provision of bait on shark behaviour are still unclear. Here, we assessed the effects of provisioning using a Control‐Impact design on the spatial use and level of residency of the blacktip reef shark Carcharhinus melanopterus over a 2‐year period. We used effect sizes to model the relative changes in residency between provisioning and non‐provisioning sites. Sharks showed a high degree of residency and significant changes in their habitat use which persisted overnight while the activity ceased. We suggest that provisioning activities can affect species with high level of residency such as the blacktip reef shark. Further research is needed to better understand how these behavioural modifications can alter the fitness of this species. It is important to adapt shark provisioning activities to limit the induced changes in habitat use.

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