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Oceanographic and atmospheric phenomena influence the abundance of whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Sleeman, J. C., Meekan, Mark G., Fitzpatrick, B.J., Steinberg, C.R., Ancel, R. and Bradshaw, Corey J. A. (2010). Oceanographic and atmospheric phenomena influence the abundance of whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology,382(2):77-81.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Oceanographic and atmospheric phenomena influence the abundance of whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Author Sleeman, J. C.
Meekan, Mark G.
Fitzpatrick, B.J.
Steinberg, C.R.
Ancel, R.
Bradshaw, Corey J. A.
Journal Name Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Publication Date 2010
Volume Number 382
Issue Number 2
ISSN 0022-0981   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-71649085293
Start Page 77
End Page 81
Total Pages 5
Place of Publication Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Field of Research 060205 - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
Abstract Seasonal observations of whale shark abundance recorded by ecotourist operators at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia from 1999 to 2004 were compared with weekly regional and global oceanographic and atmospheric variables, including average sea surface temperatures, along-shelf wind shear, sea level and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). Estimates of these physical variables were derived from either ground-based data or from remote sensing instruments. A generalised linear mixed-effects modelling (GLMM) approach with random sampling and model simulation was used to determine the relationships between the number of whale sharks and all model variants of the environmental parameters, using information-theoretic weights of evidence to rank models. SOI and wind shear had the most support for explaining the deviance in weekly whale shark abundance at Ningaloo Reef during a season. The SOI and wind shear variables positively influenced whale shark abundance such that more sharks were sighted when the Southern Oscillation was stronger and along-shelf winds were increasingly prevalent. This may reflect changes in the strength of oceanographic processes such as the Leeuwin Current (in response to the Southern Oscillation) and wind/current driven upwelling which may affect the abundance of whale sharks transported to the region and/or the availability of their prey by driving productivity changes. Crown Copyright
Keywords Abundance
ENSO
Ningaloo Reef
Oceanography
Rhincodon typus
Southern Oscillation
SST
Whale sharks
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2009.10.015   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Fri, 29 Aug 2014, 17:40:39 CST by Anthony Hornby