TitlePopulation dynamics of the reef manta ray Manta alfredi in eastern Australia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsCouturier L.IE., Dudgeon C.L., Pollock K.H., Jaine F.RA., Bennett M.B., Townsend K.A., Weeks S.J., Richardson A.J.
Date PublishedJun
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0722-4028
Accession NumberBIOSIS:PREV201400477239
Keywords(female, male)], 04500, Mathematical biology and statistical methods, 07502, Ecology:, 07508, Ecology:, 10515, Biophysics - Biocybernetics, 62800, Animal distribution, aggregation, photographic identification, population site affinity,, alfredi, Animals, Chordates, Fish,, Australasian region/Lady Elliot Island, australia, Biogeography (Population, Chondrichthyes [85202], environmental biology - Animal, environmental biology - General and methods, mathematical and computer techniques, Models and Simulations (Computational Biology), multiple resighting, Nonhuman Vertebrates, Vertebrates, Pacific Ocean, Pisces, Vertebrata, Chordata, Animalia, population dynamics, population size, population structure, seasonal, reef manta ray, robust design population model, South, Studies), [Manta
AbstractThe reef manta ray Manta alfredi aggregates at several sites along the east coast of Australia. Photographic identification and mark-recapture methods were used to report on the site affinity, size and structure of this population of M. alfredi. A total of 716 individuals were identified in 1982-2012, including 636 at Lady Elliot Island (LEI), southern Great Barrier Reef. Over 60 % of individuals identified were resighted at least once during the study period. Multiple resightings within and among years imply a high degree of site affinity by individuals to aggregation sites. One individual was sighted 11 times at LEI over a 30-yr period. The sex ratio of this population was significantly biased towards females (1.2:1 female-to-male ratio), and females were more commonly resighted than males. Robust design population models were used to estimate the population size of the winter aggregation at LEI over a 4-yr period. The models estimated up to 456 (95 % CI 399-535) M. alfredi individuals in the population within one winter season and a high annual apparent survival. This study demonstrated that waters around LEI form a key aggregation site for a large portion of the M. alfredi population in east Australian waters.