Nicolas E Humphries

Nicolas E Humphries
Marine Biological Association of the UK | MBA · Fish behavioural ecology group

PhD

About

65
Publications
25,864
Reads
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4,374
Citations
Citations since 2016
35 Research Items
3043 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Additional affiliations
January 2008 - present
Education
September 2008 - May 2013
University of Plymouth
Field of study
  • Behavioural Ecology
September 2005 - September 2006
University of Plymouth
Field of study
  • Ecology
October 1976 - June 1979
Swansea University
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (65)
Article
Full-text available
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
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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
Full-text available
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
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
Full-text available
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
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
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...
Article
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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...
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
Full-text available
Significance Understanding the key drivers of animal movement is crucial to assist in mitigating adverse impacts of anthropogenic activities on marine megafauna. We found that movement patterns of marine megafauna are mostly independent of their evolutionary histories, differing significantly from patterns for terrestrial animals. We detected a rem...
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
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Management and conservation of marine predator species relies on a fundamental knowledge of their movements and behaviour. Pop-up satellite archival tags were used to investigate the vertical movement patterns of five blue sharks (Prionace glauca) and one thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) within the southeastern Indian Ocean. Sections of similar de...
Article
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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
Full-text available
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
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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
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The ocean sunfish (Mola mola) is the world’s heaviest bony fish reaching a body mass of up to 2.3 tonnes. However, the prey M. mola consumes to fuel this prodigious growth remains poorly known. Sunfish were thought to be obligate gelatinous plankton feeders, but recent studies suggest a more generalist diet. In this study, through molecular barcodi...
Article
Rhythmic activity patterns are ubiquitous in animals and in the marine environment a dominant rhythmic activity is the diel vertical migration (DVM) of pelagic organisms, moving or ‘migrating’ from deep waters during the day to shallower waters at night. While this overall pattern of movement is well understood, the cryptic nature of the marine env...
Article
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Background Determining the habitat use of mobile marine species is important for understanding responses to climate change and aids the implementation of management and conservation measures. Inference of preferred habitat use has been greatly improved by combining satellite-based oceanographic data with animal tracking techniques. Although there h...
Article
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Significance Shark populations are declining worldwide because of overexploitation by fisheries with unknown consequences for ecosystems. Although the harvest of oceanic sharks remains largely unregulated, knowing precisely where they interact with fishing vessels will better aid their conservation. We satellite track six species of shark and two e...
Article
A large, pregnant, female bull shark Carcharhinus leucas was tracked migrating from Seychelles across open ocean to south-east Madagascar, c. 2000 km away, and back again. In Madagascar, the shark spent a prolonged period shallower than 5 m, consistent with entering estuarine habitat to pup, and upon return to Seychelles the shark was slender and n...
Article
Full-text available
Long-distance movements of animals are an important driver of population spatial dynamics and determine the extent of overlap with area-focused human activities, such as fishing. Despite global concerns of declining shark populations, a major limitation in assessments of population trends or spatial management options is the lack of information on...
Article
Full-text available
Significance How best to search for food in heterogeneous landscapes is a universal problem facing mobile organisms. Diverse modern animals use a random search strategy called a Lévy walk, composed of many small move steps interspersed by rare long steps, which theoretically is optimal for locating sparse resources. Here, we find the first evidence...
Article
While evidence for optimal random search patterns, known as Lévy walks, in empirical movement data is mounting for a growing list of taxa spanning motile cells to humans, there is still much debate concerning the theoretical generality of Lévy walk optimisation. Here, using a new and robust simulation environment, we investigate in the most detaile...
Article
The decisions animals make about how long to wait between activities can determine the success of diverse behaviours such as foraging, group formation or risk avoidance. Remarkably, for diverse animal species, including humans, spontaneous patterns of waiting times show random 'burstiness' that appears scale-invariant across a broad set of scales....
Article
Understanding how invasive species spread is of particular concern in the current era of globalisation and rapid environmental change. The occurrence of super-diffusive movements within the context of Levy flights has been discussed with respect to particle physics, human movements, microzooplankton, disease spread in global epidemiology and animal...
Article
A first step in the analysis of complex movement data often involves discretisation of the path into a series of step-lengths and turns, for example in the analysis of specialised random walks, such as Lévy flights. However, the identification of turning points, and therefore step-lengths, in a tortuous path is dependent on ad-hoc parameter choices...
Article
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Edwards et al question aspects of the methods used in two of our published papers that report results showing Levy walk like and Levy flight movement patterns of marine predators.The criticisms are focused on the applicability of some statistical methodologies used to detect power law distributions.We reply to the principal criticisms levelled at e...
Article
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It is an open question how animals find food in dynamic natural environments where they possess little or no knowledge of where resources are located. Foraging theory predicts that in environments with sparsely distributed target resources, where forager knowledge about resources' locations is incomplete, Lévy flight movements optimize the success...
Article
1. Search processes play an important role in physical, chemical and biological systems. In animal foraging, the search strategy predators should use to search optimally for prey is an enduring question. Some models demonstrate that when prey is sparsely distributed, an optimal search pattern is a specialised random walk known as a Lévy flight, whe...
Article
Full-text available
Dramatic population declines among species of pelagic shark as a result of overfishing have been reported, with some species now at a fraction of their historical biomass. Advanced telemetry techniques enable tracking of spatial dynamics and behaviour, providing fundamental information on habitat preferences of threatened species to aid conservatio...
Data
Longline yearly averaged effort data by 5×5 degree squares for the North Atlantic (1972–2003) and Pacific (1950–2004); class breaks were determined statistically by finding adjacent feature pairs between which there was a relatively large difference in data value – natural breaks. (TIF)
Data
Density grid of number of hours spent per 0.5×0.5° unit area for observed (A) and three different simulated particles (B–D). (TIF)
Data
Movement and high space use areas occupied by smart position-only transmitting (SPOT) tagged blue sharks. (A) General movement patterns overlaid on bathymetry; black circles denote last transmission locations and white circles geolocated positions. (B) Kernel density plot of 3-year (2006–2008) summer/autumn seasonal average of (C) sea surface tempe...
Article
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Over-fishing may lead to a decrease in fish abundance and a proliferation of jellyfish. Active movements and prey search might be thought to provide a competitive advantage for fish, but here we use data-loggers to show that the frequently occurring coastal jellyfish (Rhizostoma octopus) does not simply passively drift to encounter prey. Jellyfish...
Article
An optimal search theory, the so-called Lévy-flight foraging hypothesis, predicts that predators should adopt search strategies known as Lévy flights where prey is sparse and distributed unpredictably, but that Brownian movement is sufficiently efficient for locating abundant prey. Empirical studies have generated controversy because the accuracy o...
Article
Full-text available
An optimal search theory, the so-called Lévy-flight foraging hypothesis, predicts that predators should adopt search strategies known as Lévy flights where prey is sparse and distributed unpredictably, but that Brownian movement is sufficiently efficient for locating abundant prey. Empirical studies have generated controversy because the accuracy o...
Article
Full-text available
Shifts in the movement, activity or behaviour of individual animals in relation to changing environmental landscapes play an important role in determining re-distribution patterns of populations. Such spatial dynamics are poorly understood for pelagic sharks despite the decline of many species due to overfishing. Satellite-linked archival transmitt...
Article
Full-text available
Satellite tracking of large pelagic fish provides insights on free-ranging behaviour, distributions and population structuring. Up to now, such fish have been tracked remotely using two principal methods: direct positioning of transmitters by Argos polar-orbiting satellites, and satellite relay of tag-derived light-level data for post hoc track rec...