Ontogenetic Variation in Movements and Depth Use, and Evidence of Partial Migration in a Benthopelagic Elasmobranch

James Thorburn* (Corresponding Author), Francis Neat, Ian Burrett, Lea-Anne Henry, David M. Bailey, Cath S. Jones, Les R. Noble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Tope (Galeorhinus galeus) is a highly mobile elasmobranch in the temperate to subtropical northeast Atlantic. It is highly migratory and has been shown to display complex movement patterns, such as partial migration, in the southern hemisphere. In the northeast Atlantic, previous mark-recapture studies have struggled to identify movement patterns and the species behavior is poorly described, yet identification of migratory behaviors and habitats of importance for the species is of paramount importance for effective management. Here, we combined fisheries independent survey data with mark-recapture (MR) data to investigate the distribution of different age classes of tope across the northeast Atlantic. We further investigated depth use in detail with archival electronic tags and a pop-up satellite archival tag (PSAT). We suggest previous studies struggling to find consistent movement patterns using MR data were confounded by a combination of site fidelity, partial migration by females, and increasing depth and home range of juveniles. Survey and MR data showed immature tope
Original languageEnglish
Article number353
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) provided funding via a Ph.D. studentship and through the community project SIORC (Sharks, skate, and rays in the offshore and coastal regions of Scotland). MASTS was funded by the Scottish Funding Council (grant reference HR09011) and contributing institutions. This work was supported by the Fisheries Society for the British Isles and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Thank you to Ken Collins, Richard Sutcliffe, and the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme for the mark and recapture data from the UK, Glasgow Museums and Scottish shark Tagging programmes for the data and all the anglers that have contributed data over the years. Thank you to the members of the public who kindly returned the Lotek tags found washed up on beaches. Thank you Barbara Pereira whose help in retrieving the recaptured Star-Oddi tag from Portugal was invaluable as well as the unnamed fishermen who returned the tag in the first place. Thank you to the funders, MASTS, SNH, and the FSBI and to the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network for the purchase of the PSAT tag.


  • tope
  • school shark
  • depth range
  • archival tags
  • migration
  • site fidelity
  • Site fidelity
  • Migration
  • School shark
  • Tope
  • Depth range
  • Archival tags


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