Analysis of the temporal and spatial variability of whale shark ( Rhincodon typus ) aggregation in the South Ari Marine Protected Area, Maldives, Indian Ocean

Author(s): Silvia Valsecchi, Caterina Lanfredi, Arianna Azzellino, Alessandra Savini, Valentina Alice Bracchi, Fabio Marchese, James Hancock, Richard Rees, Clara Canovas Perez
Keywords: whale sharks, marine protected area, Maldives

Whale sharks are known to aggregate in coastal areas. In the South Ari Marine Protected Area (Maldives) a aggregation, mostly represented by young males with a high level of residency, has been described in the literature. Despite the worldwide interest in the natural resources of the Maldives, this population is increasingly subjected to anthropogenic pressure […]

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The influence of light on elasmobranch behavior and physiology: a review

Author(s): Daire Carroll and Jessica - Harvey Carroll
Keywords: Light, Elasmobranch, Human Impact

In this review, we summarize the state of knowledge of the influence of light on the activity and physiology of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, rays, and sawfish). These are a diverse group with great economic and ecological importance. The long-term success of a species is largely determined by its ability to respond to changes in its […]

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Wound-healing capabilities of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) and implications for conservation management

Author(s): Freya Womersley, James Hancock, Cameron T Perry, David Rowat
Keywords: wound healing, anthropogenic, shark, injury

Wound healing is important for marine taxa such as elasmobranchs, which can incur a range of natural and anthropogenic wounds throughout their life history. There is evidence that this group shows a high capacity for external wound healing. However, anthropogenic wounds may become more frequent due to increasing commercial and recreational marine activities. Whale sharks […]

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The impact of injury on apparent survival of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) in South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area, Maldives

Author(s): Jessica Harvey-Carroll, Joshua D. Stewart, Daire Carroll, Basith Mohamed, Ibrahim Shameel, Irthisham H. Zareer, Gonzalo Araujo, Richard Rees
Keywords: survival, injury, anthropogenic impact, maldives

Please click here: The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is an endangered species with a declining global population. The South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area (SAMPA), Maldives, is one of few locations globally where year-long residency of individuals occurs. This SAMPA aggregation appears to consist almost exclusively of immature males. Due to its year-round residency, this […]

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Anthropogenic injury and site fidelity in Maldivian whale sharks (Rhincodon typus)

Author(s): Harriet L. Allen, Bryce D. Stewart, Colin J. McCLean, James Hancock, Richard Rees
Keywords: anthropogenic injuries, whale shark, site fidelity

Please click here: Whale sharks collect in predictable seasonal aggregations across the tropics. South Ari Atoll in the Maldives is one of a few aggregation sites where whale sharks can be encountered year-round. Here, areas with high levels of tourism-related boating traffic overlap with the whale shark hotspot, increasing the probability of anthropogenic injury. Whale […]

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Comparing length-measurement methods and estimating growth parameters of free-swimming whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) near the South Ari Atoll, Maldives

Author(s): Cameron T. Perry, Joana Figueiredo, Jeremy J. Vaudo, James Hancock, Richard Rees and Mahmood Shivji
Marine and Freshwater Research 69(10) 1487-1495
Keywords: age estimation, age and growth, elasmobranch, growth rates, laser photogrammetry, von Bertalanffy

(This is a peer reviewed publication currently under embargo and can only be accessed via Marine & Freshwater Research. Please click here) Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are an endangered species whose growth and reproductive biology are poorly understood. Given their conservation concern, estimating growth parameters, as traditionally derived from vertebral samples of dead animals, is challenging. […]

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Does bathymetry drive coastal whale shark (Rhincodon typus) aggregations?

Author(s): Joshua P. Copping, Bryce D. Stewart, Colin J. McClean, James Hancock and Richard Rees
Copping JP, Stewart BD, McClean CJ, Hancock J, Rees R. (2018) Does bathymetry drive coastal whale shark (Rhincodon typus) aggregations? PeerJ 6:e4904
Keywords: Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus, bathymetry, aggregation,

(This is a peer reviewed publication in the open access journal PeerJ. Written in collaboration with MWSRP and University of York.) Background The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is known to aggregate in a number of coastal locations globally, however what causes these aggregations to form where they do is largely unknown. This study examines whether […]

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Assessing the environmental and biological variables that make South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) a world renowned whale shark aggregation site

Author(s): Tamlin Jefferson
Thesis, University of York
Keywords: Whale Shark, Rhincondon typus, Maldives Archipelago, Site Fidelity, Environmental Variables

“Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) typically aggregate in response to seasonal increases in prey abundance, with phytoplankton blooms as well as fish and coral spawning events attracting large numbers of sharks. However, the whale sharks of South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) show extraordinary site fidelity, with a predictable year round population and no seasonal […]

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The influence of environmental and anthropogenic variables on whale shark (Rhincodon typus) abundance in the South Ari Atoll

Author(s): Sophie Gibson
Dissertation, University of Plymouth
Keywords: Whale Shark, Rhincondon typus, Maldives Archipelago, seasonality, abundance

“Rhincodon typus is a large filter feeding elasmobranch that aggregates in shallow coastal waters such as the South Ari atoll Marine Protected Area (S.A. MPA) in the Maldives. They are known to travel large distances, however little is known about what causes these movements throughout the oceans and into aggregation sites. This study aims to […]

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Monitoring Tourist Pressure on Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus) Behaviour in South Ari MPA, Maldives

Author(s): Alberto Lei Leston
Masters Thesis, University of Edinburgh
Keywords: Whale Shark, Rhincondon typus, Maldives Archipelago, Tourism, MPA, Code of Conduct, Impact

By video analyzing each whale shark encounter in South Ari and recording tourist and whale shark behaviour underwater, results suggest a low tourist compliance to regulations. The results obtained and the different management measures recommended, have the potential to improve our understanding of whale shark ecology and the management in South Ari MPA.

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