Marine Biological Association & University of Exeter
Supervisor(s): Darren Croft and David Sims
This project uses the small spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) as a model species with which to study social preferences and network construction in elasmobranchs. Using repeatable and controlled laboratory network experiments this project aims to determine the role of kinship and familiarity on the development of social structure in this species and assess how habitat complexity is likely to influence decisions about social behaviour. To give context to the laboratory studies, nearly 50 adult catsharks have been tagged acoustically and are currently being tracked in the wild with passive telemetry receivers on the seabed. Network analysis will not only shed light on the degree of co-occurrence of these sharks in the wild but will also be adapted to understand how environmental variables influence the ways in which individual, or groups of, animals move within and between habitat areas. The technique adapted for this study will have implications for the analysis of telemetry data from a wide variety of both marine and terrestrial animals.
Griffiths, A.M., Jacoby, D.M.P., Casane, D., McHugh, M., Croft, D.P., Genner, M.J. & Sims, D.W. First analysis of multiple paternity in an oviparous shark, the small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula L.). Journal of Heredity (in press) doi: 10.1093/jhered/esr112
Jacoby, D.M.P., Croft, D.P. & Sims, D.W. Social behaviour in sharks and rays: analysis, patterns and implications for conservation. Fish and Fisheries (in press) doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2979.2011.00436.x
Jacoby, D.M.P., Busawon, D.S. & Sims, D.W. (2010). Sex and social networking: the role of male presence on social structure of female shark groups. Behavioral Ecology 21, 808-818.
The Marine Biological Association of the UK