We investigated short-term movements of neonate and juvenile sandbar sharks, Carcharhinus plumbeus, on their nursery grounds in Delaware Bay. The majority of sharks tracked limited their movements to water less than 5 m deep, remained within 5 km of the coastline, and occupied oblong activity spaces along the coast. In addition to site-attached coastal movements observed, several sharks moved entirely across Delaware Bay or spent considerable time in deeper portions of the central bay. Sharks tracked on the New Jersey side of the bay tended to spend more time in deeper water, farther from shore than sharks tracked on the Delaware side. Observation-area curves estimated that optimal tracking time for sandbar sharks in Delaware Bay was 41 h. Indices of site attachment showed that movement patterns of tracked sandbar sharks varied from nomadic to home ranging. There was no significant difference in rate of movement for day/night, crepuscular periods, or between juveniles and neonates. In general, young sandbar sharks patrolled the coast and appeared to be site attached to some extent, but were capable of making longer excursions, including movement entirely across Delaware Bay.
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