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Archival tagging of a basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus, in the western North Atlantic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2004

Gregory B. Skomal
Affiliation:
Martha's Vineyard Research Station, Division of Marine Fisheries, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, PO Box 68, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568, USA, e-mail: Gregory.Skomal@state.ma.us
Grayson Wood
Affiliation:
Coastwatch Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 28 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA, e-mail: grayson.wood@noaa.gov
Nick Caloyianis
Affiliation:
442 Chalfonte Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21228, USA, e-mail: iultima@earthlink.net

Abstract

A 6·1-m long female basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) was tagged 73 km east of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts on 27 September 2001 with a pop-up archival transmitting tag. The tag detached prematurely on 6 December 2001 in an area approximately 800 km south-west of the tag site off the coast of North Carolina. The basking shark was vertically active for the 71-d tracking period, moving through depths and temperatures ranging from the surface to 320 m and 5·8 to 21·0°C, respectively. The shark displayed temporal variation in its residence depth and exhibited a marked temperature preference, with 72% of the temperature observations between 15·0 and 17·5°C. This track provides evidence that the basking shark associates with the continental shelf and shelf edge off the south-eastern United States during autumn. Moreover, it corroborates previous studies indicating that the basking shark remains active and does not hibernate during autumn.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2004 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

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