Depth Partitioning and Diel Movement of Two Large Carcharhinid Sharks in Extremely Shallow Waters

Adi Barash, Aviad Scheinin, Eyal Bigal, Ziv Zemah Shamir, Stephane Martinez, Dan Tchernov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two species of carcharhinid sharks aggregate every winter at the warm water effluent of a coastal power plant on the Israeli Mediterranean coast. The two species (Carcharhinus obscurus and Carcharhinus plumbeus) cooccur in a highly confined area for several months every year and are highly associated with the area in and around the hot water effluent. Niche partitioning has recently been suggested as a mechanism that enables the coexistence of similar shark species by resource partitioning, spatial partitioning, and temporal partitioning. In this study, we used acoustic telemetry to study the individual diel movement and activity patterns within this enclosed area and examined the differences between the two species sharing it. Although this location only reaches a maximum depth of 7.5 m, we found both species perform a diel vertical movement, rising closer to the surface at night and moving deeper during daytime. Furthermore, the two shark species swam at different depths both day and night, with C. obscurus swimming in the upper column, about 2 m shallower than C. plumbeus. The very small scale of movement, which nearly equals the sharks’ body length, suggests movement patterns might be conserved at the species level. Moreover, spatiotemporal differences between the two species may reflect a mean of interspecific partitioning that occurs even in a highly confined and shallow habitat.

Original languageEnglish
Article number85
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • behavioural plasticity
  • Carcharhinus obscurus
  • Carcharhinus plumbeus
  • competition
  • elasmobranch
  • habitat selection
  • partitioning
  • predators
  • selacii
  • spatial patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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