David W Sims

David W Sims
Marine Biological Association of the UK | MBA · Department of Marine Biology

BSc PhD

About

264
Publications
98,559
Reads
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15,400
Citations
Additional affiliations
February 2012 - present
University of Southampton
Position
  • Professor of Marine Ecology
October 2007 - present
Marine Biological Association of the UK
Position
  • Deputy Director Research
October 2000 - present
Marine Biological Association of the UK
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (264)
Article
Groups of basking sharks engaged in circling behaviour are rarely observed and their function remains enigmatic in the absence of detailed observations. Here, underwater and aerial video recordings of multiple circling groups of basking sharks during late summer (August and September, 2016–2021) in the eastern north Atlantic Ocean showed groups num...
Article
Full-text available
Many factors influence how environmental DNA (eDNA) abundance varies in natural environments. One of the least studied contributors to eDNA variation is that of reproduction. Marine organisms that broadcast spawn are expected to shed increased quantities of DNA in association with the release of gametes and the elevated levels of activity associate...
Article
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Significance Global vessel traffic is increasing alongside world economic growth. The potential for rising lethal ship strikes on endangered species of marine megafauna, such as the plankton-feeding whale shark, remains poorly understood since areas of highest overlap are seldom determined across an entire species range. Here we show how satellite...
Article
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Global abundances of oceanic pelagic sharks have declined due to overfishing. Internationally protected shark species remain at risk due to indiscriminate bycatch in longline fisheries with under-reported catches affecting reliability of population assessments for management. However, the scale of under-reporting remains poorly understood. Here we...
Article
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Blue shark (Prionace glauca) is amongst the most abundant shark species in international trade, however this highly migratory species has little effective management and the need for spatio-temporal strategies increases, possibly involving the most vulnerable stage or sex classes. We combined 265,595 blue shark observations (capture or satellite ta...
Article
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Many sharks, skates, and rays (elasmobranchs) are highly threatened by the activities of commercial fisheries, and a clear understanding of their distributions, diversity, and abundance can guide protective measures. However, surveying and monitoring elasmobranch species can be highly invasive or resource‐intensive, and utilization of non‐invasive...
Article
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Over the past 4 decades there has been a growing concern for the conservation status of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). In 2002, the first elasmobranch species were added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Less than 20 yr later, there were 39 species on Appendix II and 5 o...
Article
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106,107 ✉ replying to A. V. Harry & J. M. Braccini Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03463-w (2021) Our global analysis 1 estimated the overlap and fishing exposure risk (FEI) using the space use of satellite-tracked sharks and longline fishing effort monitored by the automatic identification system (AIS). In the accompanying Comment, Harry...
Article
This article is a response to Murua et al.'s Matters Arising article in Nature, "Shark mortality cannot be assessed by fishery overlap alone," which arose from arising from N. Queiroz et al. Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1444-4 (2019).
Article
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In the pelagic environment diel vertical movements (DVM) are widespread across taxa, from zooplankton ascending from day-time depths into surface layers at night to avoid visual predators, to apex predators following prey movements to maximise foraging opportunities. The drivers of DVM in large predators such as pelagic sharks have only recently be...
Article
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The accuracy and reliability of DNA metabarcoding analyses depend on the breadth and quality of the reference libraries that underpin them. However, there are limited options available to obtain and curate the huge volumes of sequence data that are available on public repositories such as NCBI and BOLD. Here, we provide a pipeline to download, clea...
Article
Habitat selection is the process by which an individual makes an active decision to make use of a particular habitat when others are available. The ability to infer habitat selection therefore requires observations of movement through space and time which can be particularly challenging for marine species that are cryptic and do not regularly visit...
Article
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The global lockdown to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic health risks has altered human interactions with nature. Here, we report immediate impacts of changes in human activities on wildlife and environmental threats during the early lockdown months of 2020, based on 877 qualitative reports and 332 quantitative assessments from 89 different studies. Hundr...
Article
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Many sharks and other marine taxa use natal areas to maximize survival of young, meaning such areas are often attributed conservation value. The use of natal areas is often linked to predator avoidance or food resources. However, energetic constraints that may influence dispersal of young and their use of natal areas are poorly understood. We combi...
Article
Bio‐logging data obtained by tagging animals is key to addressing global conservation challenges. However, the many thousands of existing bio‐logging datasets are not easily discoverable, universally comparable, nor readily accessible through existing repositories and across platforms. This slows down ecological research and effective management. A...
Article
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Climate-driven expansions of ocean hypoxic zones are predicted to concentrate pelagic fish in oxygenated surface layers, but how expanding hypoxia and fisheries will interact to affect threatened pelagic sharks remains unknown. Here, analysis of satellite-tracked blue sharks and environmental modelling in the eastern tropical Atlantic oxygen minimu...
Article
Effective ocean management and the conservation of highly migratory species depend on resolving the overlap between animal movements and distributions, and fishing effort. However, this information is lacking at a global scale. Here we show, using a big-data approach that combines satellite-tracked movements of pelagic sharks and global fishing fle...
Article
Telemetry datasets are becoming increasingly large and covering a wider range of species using different technologies (GPS, Argos, light‐based geolocation). Together, such datasets hold tremendous potential to understand species' space use at broad spatial scale, through the development of species distribution or habitat suitability models (SDMs) t...
Article
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Coexistence of ecologically similar species occupying the same geographic location (sympatry) poses questions regarding how their populations persist without leading to competitive exclusion. There is increasing evidence to show that micro-variations in habitat use may promote coexistence through minimizing direct competition for space and resource...
Article
Often the ecology of a commercially fished species and the behaviour of the fishers are inextricably linked. An understanding of both species ecology and fisher behaviour are therefore fundamental for effective fisheries management. In Europe, Rajidae are commercially fished species that are vulnerable to overfishing, have historically been grouped...
Article
Full-text available
Migratory movements in response to seasonal resources often influence population structure and dynamics. Yet in mobile marine predators, population genetic consequences of such repetitious behaviour remain inaccessible without comprehensive sampling strategies. Temporal genetic sampling of seasonally recurring aggregations of planktivorous basking...
Chapter
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All of the >1000 species of sharks, skates and rays are obligate water-breathers with comparatively high absolute oxygen demands being relatively large-bodied, active predators. With broad distributions across aquatic habitats exhibiting large variations in physico-chemical variables including oxygen concentration indicates elasmobranch physiology,...
Article
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Efficient searching for resources such as food by animals is key to their survival. It has been proposed that diverse animals from insects to sharks and humans adopt searching patterns that resemble a simple Lévy random walk, which is theoretically optimal for 'blind foragers' to locate sparse, patchy resources. To test if such patterns are generat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Tracking data have led to evidence-based conservation of marine megafauna, but a disconnect remains between the many 1000s of individual animals that have been tracked and the use of these data in conservation and management actions. Furthermore, the focus of most conservation efforts is within Exclusive Economic Zones despite the ability of these...
Article
Full-text available
Tracking data have led to evidence-based conservation of marine megafauna, but a disconnect remains between the many thousands of individual animals that have been tracked and the use of these data in conservation and management actions. Furthermore, the focus of most conservation efforts is within Exclusive Economic Zones despite the ability of th...
Article
Full-text available
Effective ocean management and conservation of highly migratory species depends on resolving overlap between animal movements and distributions and fishing effort. Yet, this information is lacking at a global scale. Here we show, using a big-data approach combining satellite-tracked movements of pelagic sharks and global fishing fleets, that 24% of...
Article
p>Resource partitioning is expected in sympatric assemblages of predators as a mechanism that reduces competition between individuals of different species or age classes, which in turn can affect population and community interactions as well as resource distribution and availability. However, for species such as benthic skates (Rajidae), the juveni...
Article
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Metabarcoding extra‐organismal DNA from environmental samples is now a key technique in aquatic biomonitoring and ecosystem health assessment. Of critical consideration when designing experiments, and especially so when developing community standards and legislative frameworks, is the choice of genetic marker and primer set. Mitochondrial cytochrom...
Article
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Animal telemetry is a powerful tool for observing marine animals and the physical environments that they inhabit, from coastal and continental shelf ecosystems to polar seas and open oceans. Satellite-linked biologgers and networks of acoustic receivers allow animals to be reliably monitored over scales of tens of meters to thousands of kilometers,...
Article
Full-text available
Telemetry is a key, widely‐used tool to understand marine megafauna distribution, habitat use, behaviour, and physiology, however, a critical question remains: “how many animals should be tracked to acquire meaningful datasets?” This question has wide‐ranging implications including considerations of statistical power, animal ethics, logistics and c...
Article
There have been efforts around the globe to track individuals of many marine species and assess their movements and distribution, with the putative goal of supporting their conservation and management. Determining whether, and how, tracking data have been successfully applied to address real-world conservation issues is, however, difficult. Here, w...
Article
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As environmental DNA (eDNA) becomes an increasingly valuable resource for marine ecosystem monitoring, understanding variation in its persistence across contrasting environments is critical. Here, we quantify the breakdown of macrobial eDNA over a spatio-temporal axis of locally extreme conditions, varying from ocean-influenced offshore to urban-in...
Poster
Full-text available
The shortfin mako shark Isurus oxyrinchus is one of the fastest sharks, reaching speeds of up to 70 km/h. Belonging to family Lamnidae it is the second-most common oceanic shark caught by high seas longlines, mainly because of the high value of shortfin mako fins and meat. North Atlantic reported catches currently exceed 3300 tons annually and the...
Article
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Background Globally, there are a large and growing number of researchers using biotelemetry as a tool to study aquatic animals. In Europe, this community lacks a formal network structure. The aim of this study is to review the use of acoustic telemetry in Europe and document the contribution of cross-boundary studies and inter-research group collab...
Article
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Clear, accessible, objective metrics of species status are critical to communicate the state of biodiversity and to measure progress towards biodiversity targets. However, the population data underpinning current species status metrics is often highly skewed towards particular taxonomic groups such as birds, butterflies and mammals, primarily due t...
Article
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The extent of increasing anthropogenic impacts on large marine vertebrates partly depends on the animals' movement patterns. Effective conservation requires identification of the key drivers of movement including intrinsic properties and extrinsic constraints associated with the dynamic nature of the environments the animals inhabit. However, the r...
Article
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The ability to predict animal movement based on environmental change is essential for understanding the dynamic nature of their spatial ecology, and in turn the effectiveness of conservation strategies. We used a large marine predator that displays partial migration (the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier) as a model to test the role of oceanic conditio...
Article
Full-text available
Diel vertical migration (DVM) is a widespread behaviour among many pelagic species, from zooplankton to sharks, and has been widely studied in both marine and freshwater environments. Usually, DVM comprises repeated daily vertical movements through the water column, from shallower at night to deeper during the day. Consequently DVM is perhaps unexp...
Article
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Advances in satellite tracking and archival technologies now allow marine animal movements and behavior to be recorded at much finer temporal scales, providing a more detailed ecological understanding that can potentially be applicable to conservation and management strategies. Pelagic sharks are commercially exploited worldwide with current concer...
Data
Raw Data Archived depth, temperature, and latitude and longitude data from original data reports from tags WS1 to WS8 received from Microwave Telemetry
Data
Resampled locations (point density data) Along previously reported tag-specific longitudinal and latitudinal Gaussian error fields (0.16ºin longitude and 1.19ºin latitude).
Data
Average point density data and environmental data Averaged (0.5ºgrid) point density data (A) and environmental data (B–D); B –sea surface temperature (ºC); C –sea surface temperature gradients (ºC/10 km); D –chlorophyll a concentration. Note: these were the input data for the GLMM model.
Article
Full-text available
Eight whale sharks tagged with pop-up satellite archival tags off the Gulf of California, Mexico, were tracked for periods of 14–134 days. Five of these sharks were adults, with four females visually assessed to be pregnant. At least for the periods they were tracked, juveniles remained in the Gulf of California while adults moved offshore into the...
Data
Adult female whale shark and whale shark pup sighted at Espiritu Santo Island (A) Adult female whale shark WS7 photographed on the day of tagging at Espiritu Santo Island (Table 1, Fig. 1A); (B) whale shark pup sighted at Espiritu Santo Island on 4 July 2015. Photographs copyright Carlos Aguilera Carderón (A) and Jose Maria Urbalejo Calvillo (B).
Article
Marine ecosystems are subject to anthropogenic change at global, regional and local scales. Global drivers interact with regional- and local-scale impacts of both a chronic and acute nature. Natural fluctuations and those driven by climate change need to be understood to diagnose local- and regional-scale impacts, and to inform assessments of recov...
Article
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A sympatric assemblage of morphologically similar predators is expected to exhibit fine-scale habitat segregation, or resource partitioning, to reduce the effects of direct competition. This principle has been well studied for predators in terrestrial ecosystems. In the marine environment, the fine-scale spatial segregation of sympatric species of...
Article
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are commonly employed to protect ecosystems from threats like overfishing. Ideally, MPA design should incorporate movement data from multiple target species to ensure sufficient habitat is protected. We used long-term acoustic telemetry and network analysis to determine the fine-scale space use of five shark and one tu...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the exploration patterns of foragers in the wild provides fundamental insight into animal behavior. Recent experimental evidence has demonstrated that path lengths (distances between consecutive turns) taken by foragers are well fitted by a power law distribution. Numerous theoretical contributions have posited that "Lévy random walks...