Transoceanic Migration, Spatial Dynamics, and Population Linkages of White Sharks

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Science  07 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5745, pp. 100-103
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114898

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The large-scale spatial dynamics and population structure of marine top predators are poorly known. We present electronic tag and photographic identification data showing a complex suite of behavioral patterns in white sharks. These include coastal return migrations and the fastest known transoceanic return migration among swimming fauna, which provide direct evidence of a link between widely separated populations in South Africa and Australia. Transoceanic return migration involved a return to the original capture location, dives to depths of 980 meters, and the tolerance of water temperatures as low as 3.4°C. These findings contradict previous ideas that female white sharks do not make transoceanic migrations, and they suggest natal homing behavior.

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