Mark G Meekan

Mark G Meekan
Australian Institute of Marine Science · Perth Office

PhD

About

409
Publications
159,729
Reads
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16,457
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 1996 - May 2020
Australian Institute of Marine Science
Position
  • Principal Investigator
Description
  • Senior Principal Research Scientist
December 1993 - January 1996
Laval University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
January 1987 - January 1992
Griffith University
Field of study

Publications

Publications (409)
Article
There is limited evidence on the rate at which the shark populations of coral reefs can rebound from over-exploitation, the baselines that might signify when recovery has occurred and the role of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in aiding this process. We surveyed shark assemblages at Ashmore Reef in Western Australia using baited remote underw...
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Large epipelagic fishes (> 30 kg maximum size) are known to display a variety of patterns of vertical movement. Although advances in the affordability and sophistication of electronic tags now allows researchers to routinely document these patterns, there is no standardised approach to classify these behaviours and investigate their physical and bi...
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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...
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Coral reefs are biodiversity hotspots, places of high endemicity and provide essential services to billions of people globally. With increasing threats to these reefs worldwide, there is a need to implement faster, more efficient ways to monitor spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding offers a promising...
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Declines in abundance of sea snakes have been observed on reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific, although the reasons are unknown. To date, surveys have occurred on shallow reefs, despite sea snakes occurring over a large depth range. It is not known if populations of sea snakes in deep habitats have undergone similar declines. To address this, we anal...
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Knowledge of the three-dimensional movement patterns of elasmobranchs is vital to understand their ecological roles and exposure to anthropogenic pressures. To date, comparative studies among species at global scales have mostly focused on horizontal movements. Our study addresses the knowledge gap of vertical movements by compiling the first globa...
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The ‘evolutionary arms race’ between predator and prey is responsible for many physiological, morphological, and behavioural adaptations and some of the most compelling examples relate to the generation and detection of visual signals. Better understanding of adaptations can arise from approaching predator-prey dynamics from the point of view of th...
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The evolution of very large body size requires a ubiquitous and abundant source of food. In marine environments the largest animals such as whale sharks are secondary consumers that filter feed on nekton, which is plentiful, although patchy. Consequently, feeding in coastal environments requires cost‐efficient foraging that focuses on oceanographic...
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Predatory fishes are a major component of many tropical fisheries, although little is known about their diet and trophic structure, which can hinder effective management. We used stable isotopes d 15 N and d 13 C in conjunction with dietary prey items of five fishes (Lutjanus sebae, Lethrinus punctulatus, Epinephelus areolatus, Epinephelus multinot...
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Presented on Wednesday 18 May: Session 15 Between 2018 and 2021, AIMS and its partners conducted a large-scale experiment to investigate the effect of exposure to a 3D seismic survey on pearl oysters. In August 2018, ≈11 000 adult wild silverlip pearl oysters (Pinctada maxima) were collected and attached to bottom culture lines to acclimatise for 1...
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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...
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Between 2018 and 2021, AIMS and its partners conducted a large-scale experiment to investigate the effect of exposure to a 3D seismic survey on pearl oysters. In August 2018, ≈11 000 adult wild silverlip pearl oysters (Pinctada maxima) were collected and attached to bottom culture lines to acclimatise for 1 month at a holding lease site, 40 km off...
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It is well known that light pollution disrupts the early dispersal of marine turtles. But now, light emitting diodes (LEDs) are replacing traditional lights, however, we know little about how they influence hatchling dispersal. Here, we used acoustic telemetry to assess the early in-water dispersal and predation rates of hatchlings in response to d...
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Quantifying the drivers of population size in reef sharks is critical for the development of appropriate conservation strategies. In north-west Australia, shark populations inhabit coral reefs that border growing centres of human population, industry, and tourism. However, we lack baseline data on reef sharks at large spatial scales (hundreds of km...
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Population genetic data can provide valuable information on the demography of a species. For rare and elusive marine megafauna, samples for generating the data are traditionally obtained from tissue biopsies, which can be logistically difficult and expensive to collect and require invasive sampling techniques. Analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) o...
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Integrated analysis of the vertical and horizontal movements of epipelagic fishes requires high-resolution data from tags that have been attached to animals for long periods. The recovery of a SPLASH tag deployed on a whale shark (Rhincodon typus) for three months enabled access to archival data of horizontal and vertical movements of the shark tha...
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Determining influences of predation and competition on community dynamics is particularly challenging in coral reef systems where interspecific interactions between many predator and prey species play out in patchy landscapes. We used ~1000 stereo-baited remote underwater video deployments (stereo-BRUVs) to assess the relative abundance and analyse...
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Mobile species often aggregate at predictable places and times to ensure that individuals find mates and breed in suitable habitats. Sea turtles demonstrate this life history trait, which can make these species highly susceptible to population declines if nesting habitats are lost or degraded. Conservation management thus requires knowledge of wher...
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Managing the impacts of vessel noise on marine fauna requires identifying vessel numbers, movement, behaviour, and acoustic signatures. However, coastal and inland waters are predominantly used by ‘small’ (29 dB range within individual Vessel Types. The most parsimonious model (22.7% deviance explained) included ‘Speed’ and ‘Closest Point of Approa...
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Significance Seismic surveys are used to locate deposits of oil and gas in seabeds throughout the world’s oceans. There are conflicting views on the impact of these surveys on fish fauna and whether they harm commercial catches. To resolve this issue, we conducted an experimental seismic survey and monitored the composition, abundance, behavior, an...
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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...
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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).
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Whale sharks off the western coast of India have suffered high levels of fishing pressure in the past, and today continue to be caught in small-scale fisheries as by-catch. Additionally, coastlines in this region host very large and growing human populations that are undergoing rapid development. This exacerbates ongoing anthropogenic threats to th...
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Marine fisheries in coastal ecosystems in many areas of the world have historically removed large-bodied individuals, potentially impairing ecosystem functioning and the long-term sustainability of fish populations. Reporting on size-based indicators that link to food-web structure can contribute to ecosystem-based management, but the application o...
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Major aggregations of nesting green turtles (Chelonia mydas) occur in the northern Red Sea, although little is known about the reproductive ecology of this endangered species in the region. To address this issue, we satellite-tracked 30 female green turtles to document their movements and to identify factors driving habitat use at two major rookeri...
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Monitoring the demographics and movement patterns of mobile marine species underpins appropriate management and conservation strategies. Photographic identification of whale sharks Rhincodon typus based on individual variations in spot patterns is a widely used technique for monitoring of populations, but relies on the untested assumptions that the...
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By improving resource quality, cross-ecosystem nutrient subsidies may boost demographic rates of consumers in recipient ecosystems, which in turn can affect population and community dynamics. However, empirical studies on how nutrient subsidies simultaneously affect multiple demographic rates are lacking, in part because humans have disrupted the m...
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An experimental marine seismic source survey off the northwest Australian coast operated a 2600 cubic inch (41.6 l) airgun array, every 5.88 s, along six lines at a northern site and eight lines at a southern site. The airgun array was discharged 27,770 times with 128,313 pressure signals, 38,907 three-axis particle motion signals, and 17,832 groun...
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Marine reserves are a key tool for the conservation of marine biodiversity, yet only ~2.5% of the world's oceans are protected. The integration of marine reserves into connected networks representing all habitats has been encouraged by international agreements, yet the benefits of this design has not been tested empirically. Australia has one of th...
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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...
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Delineation of population structure (i.e. stocks) is crucial to successfully manage exploited species and to address conservation concerns for threatened species. Fish migration and associated movements are key mechanisms through which discrete populations mix and are thus important determinants of population structure. Detailed information on fish...
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Many marine fish populations have declined due to the individual or cumulative impacts of increasing water temperatures, ocean acidification, overfishing and other human-induced impacts such as land run-off, dredging and habitat alteration. Some solutions may be offered by ecosystem-based fisheries and conservation management. However, understandin...
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Anthropogenic impacts at isolated and inaccessible reefs are often minimal, offering rare opportunities to observe fish assemblages in a relatively undisturbed state. The remote Rowley Shoals are regarded as one of the healthiest reef systems in the Indian Ocean with demonstrated resilience to natural disturbance, no permanent human population near...
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COVID-19 restrictions have led to an unprecedented global hiatus in anthropogenic activities, providing a unique opportunity to assess human impact on biological systems. Here, we describe how a national network of acoustic tracking receivers can be leveraged to assess the effects of human activity on animal movement and space use during such globa...
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An anthropogenic cacophony Sound travels faster and farther in water than in air. Over evolutionary time, many marine organisms have come to rely on sound production, transmission, and reception for key aspects of their lives. These important behaviors are threatened by an increasing cacophony in the marine environment as human-produced sounds have...
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1. Knowledge of the spatial distribution of populations is fundamental to management plans for any species. When tracking data are used to describe distributions, it is sometimes assumed that the reported locations of individuals delineate the spatial extent of areas used by the target population. 2. Here we examine existing approaches to validate...
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Waves are thought to provide an important directional cue for hatchlings of marine turtles to navigate through the nearshore zone and to facilitate dispersal to oceanic waters. As the flatback turtle (Natator depressus) is the only species of marine turtle that lacks an oceanic juvenile stage and remains on the continental shelf throughout the enti...
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Identification of latitudinal trends in growth and maximum ages provides important insights into the vulnerability of coral reef fishes to human exploitation. Here, we sampled three species of unharvested tropical snappers from 4 locations along the tropical Western Australian coast and from the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean. Inter...
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Abstract The idea that the presence of sharks impacts the behavior of mesopredatory reef fishes is controversial and lacks clear evidence at reef‐wide scales. We compared the abundance and behavior of these reef fishes in response to the presence of reef sharks using Baited Remote Underwater Video System (BRUVS) deployments in two adjacent reef sys...
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Proximity and size of the nearest market (‘market gravity’) have been shown to have strong negative effects on coral reef fish communities that can be mitigated by the establishment of closed areas. However, moray eels are functionally unique predators that are generally not subject to targeted fishing and should therefore not directly be affected...
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Vessel noise is an acute and chronic stressor of a wide variety of marine fauna. Understanding, modelling and mitigating the impacts of this pollutant requires quantification of acoustic signatures for various vessel classes for input into propagation models and at present there is a paucity of such data for small vessels (<25 m). Our study provide...
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Given the recent trend towards establishing very large marine protected areas (MPAs) and the high potential of these to contribute to global conservation targets, we review outcomes of the last decade of marine conservation research in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), one of the largest MPAs in the world. The BIOT MPA consists of the atol...
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An Amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Age and growth data are central to management or conservation strategies for any species. Circumstantial evidence suggests that male whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) grow to asymptotic sizes much smaller than those predicted by age and growth studies and consequently, there may be sex-specific size and growth patterns in the species. We tested this h...
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Individual growth patterns in ecology are often determined from population field data through the use of regression and model selection inference analyses. However, such approaches are typically unable to provide insight into dynamic processes when based upon collections of 'snapshot' data that consist of only a single observation for each individu...
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Tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier , are a keystone, top-order predator that are assumed to engage in cost-efficient movement and foraging patterns. To investigate the extent to which oscillatory diving by tiger sharks conform to these patterns, we used a biologging approach to model their cost of transport. High-resolution biologging tags with tri-ax...
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1. Baited remote underwater stereo‐video systems (stereo‐BRUVs) are a popular tool to sample demersal fish assemblages and gather data on their relative abundance and body‐size structure in a robust, cost‐effective, and non‐invasive manner. Given the rapid uptake of the method, subtle differences have emerged in the way stereo‐BRUVs are deployed an...
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The coastline of northern Australia may be a refuge for elasmobranchs threatened or extirpated from much of their former ranges across South-East Asia. In this study, we used baited remote underwater video stations to survey the abundance, size and assemblage of elasmobranchs in the Cobourg Marine Park in northern Australia. Two sites were sampled...
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Decades of overexploitation have devastated shark populations, leaving considerable doubt as to their ecological status1,2. Yet much of what is known about sharks has been inferred from catch records in industrial fisheries, whereas far less information is available about sharks that live in coastal habitats³. Here we address this knowledge gap usi...