Cold-water coral reef habitats benefit recreationally valuable sharks

Lea-Anne Henry, Juan Moreno Navas, Sebastian Hennige, Laura Wicks, Johanna Vad, Murray Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We provide a case study to demonstrate how a key ecosystem function of coral reefs (habitat provision) co-benefits both sharks and humans. Spawning grounds of the blackmouth catshark Galeus melastomus were discovered using seabed and video surveys on the Mingulay Reef Complex, a seascape of cold-water coral reefs off western Scotland. Spawning habitats were environmentally similar across years. Shark abundance of G. melastomus, a species valued by the recreational sea angling industry, was significantly higher nearer reef habitats. Our case study demonstrates how a local coral vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) helps maintain key life stages of shark populations and provides socioeconomic benefits. Evidence for co-benefits between corals, sharks and humans provides a compelling case for identifying and protecting coral VMEs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-70
Number of pages4
JournalBiological conservation
Volume161
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • Cold-water corals
  • coral reefs
  • sharks
  • Ecosystem Function
  • Spawning
  • Sea Angling

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