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Asymptotic Growth of Whale Sharks Suggests Sex-Specific Life-History Strategies

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dc.contributor Oceans Inst
dc.contributor Univ York
dc.contributor Univ Western Australia
dc.contributor Georgia Aquarium
dc.contributor University of Western Australia
dc.contributor Australian Institute of Marine Science
dc.contributor Indian Ocean Marine Res Ctr
dc.contributor University of York - UK
dc.contributor Sch Biol Sci
dc.contributor Australian Inst Marine Sci
dc.contributor Dept Environm & Geog Ferreira, Luciana C. Lester, Emily Aspinall, Alex Taylor, Brett M. Brooks, Kim Birt, Matthew J. Meekan, Mark G. Sequeira, Ana M. M. Dove, Alistair D. M. Thums, Michele 2020-10-13T23:13:06Z 2020-10-15T23:06:20Z 2020-10-13T23:13:06Z 2020-10-15T23:06:20Z 2020-09-16
dc.identifier.citation Meekan MG, Taylor BM, Lester E, Ferreira LC, Sequeira AMM, Dove ADM, Birt MJ, Aspinall A, Brooks K, Thums M (2020) Asymptotic Growth of Whale Sharks Suggests Sex-Specific Life-History Strategies. Frontiers in Marine Science 7:575683
dc.description.abstract Age and growth data are central to management or conservation strategies for any species. Circumstantial evidence suggests that male whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) grow to asymptotic sizes much smaller than those predicted by age and growth studies and consequently, there may be sex-specific size and growth patterns in the species. We tested this hypothesis by using stereo-video and photo-identification studies to estimate the growth rates of 54 whale sharks that were resighted over a period of up to a decade at Ningaloo Reef. We found that male growth patterns were consistent with an average asymptotic total length (ft) of approximately 8-9 m, a size similar to direct observations of size at maturity at aggregation sites world-wide and much smaller than the sizes predicted by earlier modeling studies. Females were predicted to grow to an average asymptotic length of around 14.5 m. Males had growth coefficients of K = 0.088 year(-1), whereas limited resighting data suggested a growth coefficient of K = 0.035 year(-1) for females. Other data including re-sightings of an individual male over two decades, records of sex-specific maximum sizes of individuals captured in fisheries and data from juveniles growing in aquaria were also consistent with the suggestion of sex-specific growth profiles for the species. We argue that selection for sex-specific growth patterns could explain many of the otherwise enigmatic patterns in the ecology of this species including the tendency of the species to form aggregations of juvenile males in coastal waters.
dc.description.sponsorship This work has been funded by Santos, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Save Our Seas Foundation, and the Georgia Aquarium.
dc.language English
dc.subject Rhincodon typus
dc.subject Environmental Sciences
dc.subject RESIDENCY
dc.subject EMBRYOS
dc.subject COAST
dc.subject Ningaloo
dc.subject asymptotic size
dc.subject sexual dimorphism
dc.subject Environmental Sciences & Ecology
dc.subject AGE
dc.subject Marine & Freshwater Biology
dc.subject photo-identification
dc.subject NINGALOO-REEF
dc.subject FISHERIES
dc.title Asymptotic Growth of Whale Sharks Suggests Sex-Specific Life-History Strategies
dc.type journal article
dc.identifier.doi 10.3389/fmars.2020.575683
dc.identifier.wos WOS:000573893800001

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