A Global Perspective on the Trophic Geography of Sharks


Christopher S. Bird, University of Southampton
Ana Veríssimo, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Sarah Magozzi, University of Southampton
Kátya G. Abrantes, James Cook University
Alex Aguilar, University of Barcelona
Hassan Al-Reasi, Sultan Qaboos University
Adam Barnett, James Cook University
Dana M. Bethea, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Gérard Biais, Laboratoire Ressources Halieutiques de La Rochelle
Asuncion Borrell, University of Barcelona
Marc Bouchoucha, Laboratoire Environment Ressources Provnce Azur Corse
Mariah Boyle, FishWise
Edward J. Brooks, Cape Eleuthera Institute
Juerg Brunnschweiler
Paco Bustamente, CNRS-Université de La Rochelle
Aaron Carlisle, Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University
Diana Catarino, University of the Azores
Stéphane Caut, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
Yves Cherel, CNRS-Université de La Rochelle
Tiphaine Chouvelon, Unité Biogéochimie et Écotoxicologie
Diana Churchhill, Florida International University
Javier Ciancio, CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas)
Julien Claes, Université Catholique de Louvain
Ana Colaço, University of the Azores
Dean L. Courtney, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Pierre Cresson, Unité Halieutique Manche Mer du Nord
Ryan Daly, D'Arros Research Centre
Leigh de Necker, University of Cape Town
Tetsuya Endo, Health Sciences University of Hokkaido
Ivone Figueiredo, Departamento do Mar IPMA, Lisbon, Portugal
Ashley J. Frisch, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Joan Holst Hansen, Aarhus University
Michael Heithaus, Florida International University
Nigel E. Hussey, University of Windsor
Johannes Iitembu, University of Namibia
Francis Juanes, University of Victoria
Michael J. Kinney, National Marine Fisheries Service
Jeremy J. Kiszka, Florida International University
Sebastian A. Klarian, Universidad Andres Bello
Dorothée Kopp, Unité Sciences et Techniques Halieutiques
Robert R. Leaf, University of Southern MississippiFollow
Yunkai Li, Shanghai Ocean University
Anne Lorrain, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
Daniel J. Madigan, Harvard University
Aleksandra Maljković, Simon Fraser University
Luis Malpica-Cruz, Simon Fraser University
Philip Matich, Florida International University
Mark G. Meekan, University of Western Australia
Frédéric Ménard, Aix Marseille Université
Gui M. Menezes, University of the Azores
Samantha E.M. Munroe, Griffith University
Michael C. Newman, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Yannis P. Papastamatiou, Florida International University
Heidi Pethybridge, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere
Jeffrey D. Plumlee, Texas A&M University at Galveston
Carlos Polo-Silva, Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano Marina
Katie Quaeck-Davies, University of Southampton
Vincent Raoult, University of Newcastle
Jonathan Reum, National Marine Fisheries Service
Yassir Eden Torres-Rojas, Universidad Autónoma de Campeche
David S. Shiffman, Simon Fraser University
Oliver N. Shipley, Stony Brook University
Conrad W. Speed, University of Western Australia
Michelle D. Staudinger, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amy K. Teffer, University of Victoria
Alexander Tilley, WorldFish Timor-Leste
Maria Valls, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centre Oceanogràfic de les Balears
Jeremy J. Vaudo, Nova Southeastern University
Tak-Cheung Wai, City University of Hong Kong
R.J. David Wells, Texas A&M University at Galveston
Alex S.J. Wyatt, University of Tokyo
Andrew Yool, National Oceanography Centre Southampton
Clive N. Trueman, University of Southampton

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Sharks are a diverse group of mobile predators that forage across varied spatial scales and have the potential to influence food web dynamics. The ecological consequences of recent declines in shark biomass may extend across broader geographic ranges if shark taxa display common behavioural traits. By tracking the original site of photosynthetic fixation of carbon atoms that were ultimately assimilated into muscle tissues of 5,394 sharks from 114 species, we identify globally consistent biogeographic traits in trophic interactions between sharks found in different habitats. We show that populations of shelf-dwelling sharks derive a substantial proportion of their carbon from regional pelagic sources, but contain individuals that forage within additional isotopically diverse local food webs, such as those supported by terrestrial plant sources, benthic production and macrophytes. In contrast, oceanic sharks seem to use carbon derived from between 30° and 50° of latitude. Global-scale compilations of stable isotope data combined with biogeochemical modelling generate hypotheses regarding animal behaviours that can be tested with other methodological approaches.

Publication Title

Nature Ecology & Evolution



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