Michelle R Heupel

Michelle R Heupel
University of Tasmania · Integrated Marine Observing System

PhD

About

299
Publications
141,430
Reads
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14,716
Citations
Education
May 1995 - July 1998
The University of Queensland
Field of study
  • Marine Science
August 1992 - June 1994
Colorado State University
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (299)
Article
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Patterns of genetic connectivity can be used to define the geographic boundaries of fishes and underpin management decisions. This study used a genetic multi-marker approach to investigate the population structure of scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) in the Indo–Pacific. Samples from 541 S. lewini were collected from 12 locations across the In...
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Coral reef fishes often exhibit specific or restricted depth distributions, but the factors (biotic or abiotic) that influence patterns of depth use are largely unknown. Given inherent biological gradients with depth (i.e. light, nutrients, habitat, temperature), it is expected that fishes may exploit certain depths within their environment to seek...
Article
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are key tools in addressing the global decline of sharks and rays, with “marine parks” and “shark sanctuaries” of various configurations established to conserve shark populations. There is also a rapidly growing body of telemetry research used to assess MPA performance in shark protection. However, assessments of MPA e...
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Acoustic telemetry (AT) is a rapidly evolving technique used to track the movements of aquatic animals. As the capacity of AT research expands it is important to optimize its relevance to management while still pursuing key ecological questions. A global review of AT literature revealed region-specific research priorities underscoring the breadth o...
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Human-wildlife conflicts are a growing phenomenon globally as human populations expand and wildlife interactions become more commonplace. While these conflicts have been well-defined in terrestrial systems, marine forms are less well-understood. As concerns grow for the future of many shark species it is becoming clear that a key to conservation su...
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The much-publicized threats to coral reef systems necessitate a considered management response based on comprehensive ecological data. However, data from large reef systems commonly originate from multiple monitoring programs that use different methods, each with distinct biases that limit united assessments of ecological status. The effective inte...
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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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Few studies have considered linkages of mobile predators across large spatial scales despite their significant and often critical role in maintaining ecosystem function and health. The bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) is a large, widespread coastal predator capable of undertaking long-range movement, but there is still limited understanding of intr...
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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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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...
Article
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...
Article
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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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...
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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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Baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) are increasingly being used to evaluate and monitor reef communities. Many BRUVS studies compare multiple sites sampled at single time points that may differ from the sampling time of another site. As BRUVS use grows in its application to provide data relevant to sustainable management, marine protect...
Article
Angel sharks (Squatina spp.) are distributed in warm temperate to tropical waters around the world. Many species occur in shelf seas and exhibit seasonal inshore‐offshore migrations, moving inshore to give birth. Consequently, there can be high spatial overlap between angel shark populations with fisheries and other human activities. Their dorso‐ve...
Article
Stingrays are a diverse and widespread group of elasmobranchs. Despite their ecological and economical importance, many aspects of stingray ecology remain poorly understood. Few studies have examined fine-scale movements of juvenile stingrays within nursery areas. This study aimed to examine diel movement patterns in juvenile mangrove whiprays (Uro...
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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.
Technical Report
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There is increasing concern about the conservation and sustainable use of hammerhead sharks nationally and globally, with documented declines in many parts of their range. Several hammerhead species have been recently added to international conventions such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the Convention o...
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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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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...
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Animal movement has direct applications in spatial management and conservation planning, yet it is rarely taken into account for the design of natural protected areas. For instance, reef shark species are thought to benefit from marine protected area networks, even though their movement behaviour remains poorly characterized. Poor understanding of...
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Crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci (COTS) outbreaks are a major cause of coral cover loss on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), with manual culling having only localised success. The endangered giant triton snail Charonia tritonis is a natural predator of COTS, although aquarium and field observations indicate the intensity of direct predation...
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Effective sampling of marine communities is essential to provide robust estimates of species richness and abundance. Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) are a useful tool in assessment of fish assemblages, but research on the optimal sampling period required to record common and rare elasmobranch species is limited. An appropriate ‘soak...
Article
Shark abundances are decreasing on many coral reefs, but the ecosystem effects of this loss are poorly understood. Rays are a prevalent mesopredator in tropical coral reef ecosystems that are preyed upon by top predators like sharks. Studies have suggested reduced predator abundances lead to increases in mesopredator abundance (mesopredator release...
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Information on the spatial ecology of reef sharks is critical to understanding life-history patterns , yet gaps remain in our knowledge of how these species move and occupy space. Previous studies have focused on offshore reefs and atolls with little information available on the movement and space use of sharks utilising reef habitats closer to sho...
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Strategies aimed to conserve and manage rare species are often hindered by the lack of data needed for their effective design. Incomplete and inaccurate data on habitat associations and current species distributions pose a barrier to effective conservation and management for several species of endemic sea snakes in Western Australia that are though...
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Stingrays are thought to play important ecological roles in coral reef ecosystems. However, little is known about juvenile stingray movement patterns and habitat use in coral reefs. This study used active acoustic telemetry to determine fine-scale diel movement patterns and habitat use of juvenile cowtail stingrays (Pastinachus ater) in a coral ree...
Article
No-take marine protected areas (MPAs) are a commonly applied tool to reduce human fishing impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems. However, conservation outcomes of MPAs for mobile and long-lived predators such as sharks are highly variable. Here, we use empirical animal tracking data from 459 individual sharks and baited remote underwater video s...
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Previous research has identified similar trophic levels for a wide range of coral reef sharks and large teleost fishes but has been unable to resolve the extent of dietary overlap and resource sharing that lead to interpretation of functional roles and, hence, adequately describe interaction strengths in food webs. We used fatty acid (FA) profiles...
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Many of the world’s shark populations are in decline, indicating the need for improved conservation and management. Well managed and appropriately located marine parks and marine protected areas (MPAs) have potential to enhance shark conservation by restricting fisheries and protecting suitable habitat for threatened shark populations. Here, we use...
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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...
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Are we ready for elasmobranch conservation success? - Volume 46 Issue 4 - John K Carlson, Michelle R Heupel, Chelsey N Young, Jessica E Cramp, Colin A Simpfendorfer
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Mangroves are highly productive habitats offering many elasmobranch species abundant food resources and physical refuge from predators, which can be important for survival of juveniles. However, habitat use and behavioural patterns of stingrays are poorly understood within mangrove areas, and the drivers of direct use of mangroves remain unclear. S...
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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,...
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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...
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Sharks are a highly diverse predatory taxon and are regularly found in large, potentially competitive, assemblages. However, the mechanisms that enable long-term coexistence and factors that drive complementary movement are poorly understood. As interspecific interactions can have a large influence on survival and trophic linkages, research on shar...
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Defining the role of reef predators is particularly important given the rapid rate at which some species are declining, yet knowledge of trophic relationships is often lacking, particularly for large wide-ranging species that may use coral reefs seasonally or opportunistically. We used a multi-tissue stable isotope approach to investigate the troph...
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...
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The occurrence of sharks on coral reefs has been well documented for decades, especially since the advent of SCUBA diving. Despite this, it is only within the last decade that substantial research effort has been directed at these species. Research effort has increased in conjunction with the realization that reef shark populations have experienced...
Article
GPS telemetry provides high-accuracy spatial data on animal movement; however, it has rarely been used with benthic organisms, such as stingrays, because of their irregular surfacing behaviour or bottom-dwelling habits. This study evaluated the use of towed-float GPS tags to assess movements of juvenile stingrays, with active tracking performed sim...
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Background Over the past 15 years, the integration of localised passive telemetry networks into centralised data repositories has greatly enhanced our ability to monitor the presence and movements of highly mobile and migratory species. These large-scale networks are now generating big data, allowing meta-analyses across multiple species, locations...
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• The extent to which no‐take marine reserves can benefit anadromous species requires examination. • Here, we used acoustic telemetry to investigate the spatial behavior of anadromous brown trout (sea trout, Salmo trutta) in relation to a small marine reserve (~1.5 km²) located inside a fjord on the Norwegian Skagerrak coast. • On average, sea trou...
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1.Temperature directly affects the metabolic rate and resource requirements of ectothermic animals, which is likely to influence their movement and habitat use. Space use is a fundamental component of an animal's ecology and the extent of an animal's home range has consequences for individual distributions, community structure and ecosystem functio...
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Marine snakes represent the most speciose group of marine reptiles and are a significant component of reef and coastal ecosystems in tropical oceans. Research on this group has historically been challenging due to the difficulty in capturing, handling, and keeping these animals for field-and lab-based research. Inexplicable declines in marine snake...
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Developing efficient, reliable, cost‐effective ways to identify diet is required to understand trophic ecology in complex ecosystems and improve food web models. A combination of techniques, each varying in their ability to provide robust, spatially and temporally explicit information can be applied to clarify diet data for ecological research. Thi...
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Coral reefs are threatened by changing climatic conditions, which will potentially alter the frequency and severity of disturbances in coming decades, casting doubt over the potential for reefs to recover and re-assemble the structure of their fish and coral assemblages. Here, fish and coral assemblages were examined at four reefs similar in size,...
Article
Coral reefs are threatened by changing climatic conditions, which will potentially alter the frequency and severity of disturbances in coming decades, casting doubt over the potential for reefs to recover and re-assemble the structure of their fish and coral assemblages. Here, fish and coral assemblages were examined at four reefs similar in size,...
Article
Nursery areas are crucial for many elasmobranch species, providing benefits that increase fitness and survival. Shark nurseries are well studied and our knowledge of their function and importance has expanded over the past few decades. However, little attention has been given to batoid nurseries, with studies covering less than 6% of the 663 curren...
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Tropical reefs are highly diverse ecosystems, and reliable biomonitoring, through diet metabarcoding, is needed to understand present and future trophic relationships in this changing habitat. Several studies have assessed the reliability and effectiveness of single molecular markers; however, a cross-marker validation has rarely been performed. Th...
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Increasing fishing effort has caused declines in shark populations worldwide. Understanding biological and ecological characteristics of sharks is essential to effectively implement management measures, but to fully understand drivers of fishing pressure social factors must be considered through multidisciplinary and integrated approaches. The pres...
Data
Consumption of shark products: How to achieve sustainable fisheries in poor communities? Developed online: https://magic.piktochart. (TIF)
Article
Baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) are increasingly used to study fish communities, biomass, and animal behaviour. Due to the abundance of BRUVS data, there are many analysis methods. The most commonly used method for analysis of BRUV data is MaxN which refers to the maximum number of individuals observed of a species in a single frame...