Are vertical migrations driven by circadian behaviour? Decoupling of activity and depth use in a large riverine elasmobranch, the freshwater sawfish (Pristis pristis)

Adrian C. Gleiss, David L. Morgan, Jeff M. Whitty, James J. Keleher, Sabrina Fossette-Halot, Graeme C. Hays

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Circadian rhythms occur widely amongst living organisms, often in response to diel changes in environmental conditions. In aquatic animals, circadian activity is often synchronised with diel changes in the depths individuals occupy and may be related to predator–prey interactions, where the circadian rhythm is determined by ambient light levels, or have a thermoregulatory purpose, where the circadian rhythm is governed by temperature. Here, these two hypotheses are examined using animal-attached accelerometers in juvenile freshwater sawfish occupying a riverine environment displaying seasonal changes in thermal stratification. Across seasons, diel patterns of depth use (shallow at night and deep in the day) tended to occur only in the late dry seasons when the water was stratified, whereas individuals were primarily shallow in the early dry season which featured no thermal stratification. Activity was elevated during crepuscular and nocturnal periods compared to daytime, regardless of the thermal environment. Our observation of resting at cooler depths is consistent with behavioural thermoregulation to reduce energy expenditure, whereas activity appears linked to ambient light levels and predator–prey interactions. This suggests that circadian rhythms in activity and vertical migrations are decoupled in this species and respond to independent environmental drivers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-191
    Number of pages11
    JournalHydrobiologia
    Volume787
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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    Pristidae
    Pristis
    Thermal stratification
    circadian rhythm
    vertical migration
    Animals
    Accelerometers
    temperature profiles
    dry season
    stratification
    thermoregulation
    accelerometer
    coolers
    energy expenditure
    expenditure
    Water
    animals
    environmental conditions
    heat
    Temperature

    Cite this

    Gleiss, Adrian C. ; Morgan, David L. ; Whitty, Jeff M. ; Keleher, James J. ; Fossette-Halot, Sabrina ; Hays, Graeme C. / Are vertical migrations driven by circadian behaviour? Decoupling of activity and depth use in a large riverine elasmobranch, the freshwater sawfish (Pristis pristis). In: Hydrobiologia. 2017 ; Vol. 787, No. 1. pp. 181-191.
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    abstract = "Circadian rhythms occur widely amongst living organisms, often in response to diel changes in environmental conditions. In aquatic animals, circadian activity is often synchronised with diel changes in the depths individuals occupy and may be related to predator–prey interactions, where the circadian rhythm is determined by ambient light levels, or have a thermoregulatory purpose, where the circadian rhythm is governed by temperature. Here, these two hypotheses are examined using animal-attached accelerometers in juvenile freshwater sawfish occupying a riverine environment displaying seasonal changes in thermal stratification. Across seasons, diel patterns of depth use (shallow at night and deep in the day) tended to occur only in the late dry seasons when the water was stratified, whereas individuals were primarily shallow in the early dry season which featured no thermal stratification. Activity was elevated during crepuscular and nocturnal periods compared to daytime, regardless of the thermal environment. Our observation of resting at cooler depths is consistent with behavioural thermoregulation to reduce energy expenditure, whereas activity appears linked to ambient light levels and predator–prey interactions. This suggests that circadian rhythms in activity and vertical migrations are decoupled in this species and respond to independent environmental drivers.",
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    Are vertical migrations driven by circadian behaviour? Decoupling of activity and depth use in a large riverine elasmobranch, the freshwater sawfish (Pristis pristis). / Gleiss, Adrian C.; Morgan, David L.; Whitty, Jeff M.; Keleher, James J.; Fossette-Halot, Sabrina; Hays, Graeme C.

    In: Hydrobiologia, Vol. 787, No. 1, 01.02.2017, p. 181-191.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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