A review of the life history and ecology of euryhaline and estuarine sharks and rays

Julia M. Constance, Erica A. Garcia, Richard D. Pillans, Vinay Udyawer, Peter M. Kyne

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One-third of all elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) are threatened with extinction. Euryhaline and estuarine generalist elasmobranchs are a group of 29 species that occupy non-marine environments during particular life-stages. These species are poorly known and disproportionately threatened, with 72.4% at risk of extinction or Data Deficient. A detailed knowledge of a species’ life history characteristics, movement ecology, habitat use, and population structure are required for the implementation of appropriate management and conservation measures. To date, research on euryhaline and estuarine species has lagged behind marine species. Here, a literature review and gap analysis of the euryhaline and estuarine species was conducted to identify gaps in 14 key parameters required for management. Of the 29 species, only the Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas) and the Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis) had detailed information on a majority of parameters assessed. Nine species lack information on most parameters, while the Broadnose Wedgefish (Rhynchobatus springeri) lacks information on all but one of the parameters investigated. There is a high level of understanding of age- and size-at-maturity, size-at-birth, and growth for only five species, while nine species have estimates of natural mortality. Comprehensive reproductive biology data is unavailable for six species. Both short- and long-term movement ecology is well-understood for only two species, and habitat use for six species. Population structure has been studied in only eight species. Data on key life history parameters, population structure, and habitat requirements of the euryhaline and estuarine elasmobranchs are urgently required to develop appropriate management strategies and to secure populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65 - 89
Number of pages25
JournalReviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


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