Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The effects of Biorock-associated electric fields on the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi) and the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Animal Biology

Healthy coral reefs are biologically diverse and provide vital ecosystem services. However, decreasing water quality and global warming are key contributors to coral reef decline, which poses substantial environmental threats. In response to this degradation, an innovative coral reef restoration technology, called Biorock, utilizes weak direct current electric fields to cause limestone deposition on conductive materials, inevitably inducing prolific coral reef growth. Although expediting coral growth, research on how the associated electric fields may impact the behavioural patterns of teleosts and/or organisms (i.e. elasmobranchs) possessing electroreception capabilities is lacking. Therefore, we studied the behavioural responses of two shark species, the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) and the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi) and multiple teleost species towards weak direct current electric fields in Bimini, Bahamas. Generalized linear mixed model analyses based on 90 trials illustrate that both the feeding and avoidance behaviors of C. leucas and C. perezi were significantly associated with treatment type, with the weak experimental electrode treatments resulting in the greatest quantity of avoidances and fewest feedings for both species. However, data analyses illustrate that teleost feeding behavior was not observably impacted by experimental treatments. Although the Biorock technology exhibits promise in coral reef restoration, the findings from this study illustrate a need for future large-scale studies assessing shark behavioral patterns around these devices, since the deterrence of apex predators may impact ecosystem balance.

Affiliations: 1: 1O’Seas Conservation Foundation, 3636 Waldo Ave, Apt 2B, Bronx, NY 10463, USA ; 2: 2Global Coral Reef Alliance, 37 Pleasant St, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

*Corresponding author; e-mail:

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Bakti L.A., Virgota A., Damayanti L.P., Radiman T.H., Retnowulan A., Hernawati, Sabil A., Robbe D. (2012) "Biorock reef restoration in Gili Trawangan, North Lombok, Indonesia". In: Goreau T.J., Trench R.K. (Eds) Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration, pp.  59-80. CRC Press, Florida, USA. [Crossref]
2. Bastian J. (1994) "Electrosensory organisms". Phys. Today, Vol 47, 30-37. [Crossref]
3. Baum J.K., Myers R.A. (2004) "Shifting baselines and the decline of pelagic sharks in the Gulf of Mexico". Ecol. Lett., Vol 7, 135-145. [Crossref]
4. Bell C.C. (2001) "Memory-based expectations in electrosensory systems". Curr. Opin. Neurobiol., Vol 11, 481-487. [Crossref]
5. Birkeland C. (1997) "Introduction". In: Birkeland C. (Ed.) Life and Death of Coral Reefs, pp.  1-12. Chapman & Hall, New York. [Crossref]
6. Brill R., Bushnell P., Smith L., Speaks C., Sundaram R., Stroud E., Wang J. (2009) "The repulsive and feeding-deterrent effects of electropositive metals on juvenile sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus)". Fish. Bull., Vol 107, 298-307.
7. Bruno J.F., Valdivia A. (2016) "Coral reef degradation is not correlated with human population density". Sci. Rep., Vol 6, 29778. [Crossref]
8. Bryant D., Burke L., Mcmanus J., Spalding M. (2000) Reef at Risk: a Map-Based Indicator of Threats to the World’s Coral Reefs. 1st Edition. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
9. Burke L., Kura Y., Kassem K., Revenga C., Spalding M., Mcallister D. (2001) Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems: Coastal Ecosystems. 1st Edition. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
10. Carr M.H., Hixon M.A. (1997) "Artificial reefs: the importance of comparisons with natural reefs". Fisheries, Vol 22(4), 28-33. [Crossref]
11. Connell J.H. (1978) "Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs". Science, Vol 199, 1302-1310. [Crossref]
12. Crombie A.C. (1947) "Interspecific competition". J. Anim. Ecol., Vol 16(1), 44-73. [Crossref]
13. Downs C.A., Woodley C.M., Richmond R.H., Lanning L.L., Owen R. (2005) "Shifting the paradigm of coral-reef ‘health’ assessment". Marine Poll. Bull., Vol 51, 486-494. [Crossref]
14. Dulvy N.K., Fowler S.L., Musick J.A., Cavanagh R.D., Kyne P.M., Harrison L.R., Carlson J.K., Davidson L.N., Fordham S.V., Francis M.P., Pollock C.M. (2014) "Extinction risk and conservation of the world’s sharks and rays". Elife, Vol 3, e00590. [Crossref]
15. Ellis S., Ellis E. (2001) Recent advances in lagoon-based farming practices for eight species of commercially valuable hard and soft corals. Technical Report. CTSA, 147, 63 pp.
16. Faraway J.J. (2006) Extending the Linear Model With R: Generalized Linear, Mixed Effects and Nonparametric Regression Models. Chapman & Hall/CRC, Boca Raton.
17. Gibbs M.A. (2004) "Lateral line receptors: where do they come from developmentally and where is our research going?" Brain Behav. Evol., Vol 64, 163-181. [Crossref]
18. Gilbert P.W., Gilbert C. (1973) "Sharks and shark deterrents". Under. J., Vol 5, 69-79.
19. Goreau T.J. (2012) "Marine electrolysis for building materials and environmental restoration". In: Kleperis J., Linkov V. (Eds) Electrolysis, pp.  273-290. InTech Publishing, Rijeka, Croatia.
20. Goreau T.J. (2014) "Electrical stimulation greatly increases settlement, growth, survival, and stress resistance of marine organisms". Nat. Resour. J., Vol 5, 527-537.
21. Goreau T.J., Hayes R.L. (1994) "Coral bleaching and ocean “hot spots”". Ambio, Vol 23, 176-180.
22. Goreau T.J., Trench R.K. (Eds) (2012) Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration. CRC Press, Florida, USA. eBook ISBN: 978-1-4665-5774-1.
23. Heithaus M.R., Frid A., Wirsing A.J., Worm B. (2008) "Predicting ecological consequences of marine top predator declines". Trends Ecol. Evolut., Vol 23, 202-210. [Crossref]
24. Hurlbert S.H. (1984) "Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments". Ecol. Monogr., Vol 54, 187-211. [Crossref]
25. Huveneers C., Rogers P.J., Semmens J. (2012) Effects of the Shark Shield™ electric deterrent on the behaviour of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). SARDI Publication No F2012/000123-1, Research Report Series No. 632, South Australian Research and Development Institute.
26. Hyun S.-Y., Cadrin S.X., Roman S. (2014) "Fixed and mixed effect models for fishery data on depth distribution of Georges Bank yellowtail flounder". Fish. Res., Vol 157, 180-186. [Crossref]
27. Jordan L.J., Mandelman J.W., Kajiura S.M. (2011) "Behavioral responses to weak electric fields and a lanthanide metal in two shark species". J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., Vol 409, 345-350. [Crossref]
28. Jordan L.K., Mandelman J.W., Mccomb D.M., Fordham S.V., Carlson J.K., Werner T.B. (2013) "Linking sensory biology and fisheries bycatch reduction in elasmobranch fishes: a review with new directions for research". Conserv. Physiol., Vol 1, cot002. [Crossref]
29. Josberger E.E., Hassanzadeh P., Deng Y., Sohn J., Rego M.J., Amemiya C.T., Rolandi M. (2016) "Proton conductivity in ampullae of Lorenzini jelly". Sci. Adv., Vol 2, e1600112. [Crossref]
30. Kajiura S.M., Holland K.N. (2002) "Electroreception in juvenile scalloped hammerhead and sandbar sharks". J. Exp. Biol., Vol 205, 3609-3621.
31. Kajiura S.M., Fitzgerald T.P. (2009) "Response of juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks to electric stimuli". Zoology, Vol 112, 241-250. [Crossref]
32. Kalmijn A. (1966) "Electro-perception in sharks and rays". Nature, Vol 212, 1232. [Crossref]
33. Kalmijn A. (1971) "The electric sense of sharks and rays". J. Exp. Biol., Vol 55, 371-383.
34. Kalmijn A.J. (1974) "The detection of electric fields from inanimate and animate sources other than electric organs". In: Fessard A. (Ed.) Handbook of Sensory Physiology, pp.  148-200. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
35. Kalmijn A. (1982) "Electric and magnetic field detection in elasmobranch fishes". Science, Vol 218, 916-918. [Crossref]
36. Kalmijn A. (1984) "Theory of electromagnetic orientation: a further analysis". In: Bolis L., Keynes R.D., Maddrell S.H.P. (Eds) Comparative Physiology of Sensory Systems, pp.  525-560. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
37. Kalmijn A. (2000) "Detection and processing of electromagnetic and near-field acoustic signals in elasmobranch fishes". Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London [Biol.], Vol 355, 1135-1141. [Crossref]
38. Kempster R.M., McCarthy I.D., Collin S.P. (2012) "Phylogenetic and ecological factors influencing the number and distribution of electroreceptors in elasmobranchs". J. Fish Biol., Vol 80, 2055-2088. [Crossref]
39. Leahy S.M., McCormick M.I., Mitchell M.D., Ferrari M.C. (2011) "To fear or to feed: the effects of turbidity on perception of risk by a marine fish". Biol. Lett., Vol 7, 811-813. [Crossref]
40. Leão Z., Kikuchi R. (2005) "A relic coral fauna threatened by global changes and human activities, eastern Brazil". Marine Poll. Bull., Vol 51, 599-611. [Crossref]
41. Lucifora L.O., García V.B., Worm B. (2011) "Global diversity hotspots and conservation priorities for sharks". PLoS One, Vol 6, e19356. [Crossref]
42. Manire C.A., Gruber S.H. (1990) "Many sharks may be headed towards extinction". Conserv. Biol., Vol 4, 10-11. [Crossref]
43. Marcotte M., Lowe C. (2008) "Behavioral response of two species of sharks to pulsed, direct current electrical fields: testing a potential shark deterrent". Mar. Technol. Soc. J., Vol 42, 53-61. [Crossref]
44. McComb D.M., Tricas T.C., Kajiura S.M. (2009) "Enhanced visual fields in hammerhead sharks". J. Exp. Biol., Vol 212, 4010-4018. [Crossref]
45. Molina J.M., Cooke S.J. (2012) "Trends in shark bycatch research: current status and research needs". Rev. Fish Biol. Fish., Vol 22, 719-737. [Crossref]
46. Montgomery J.C., Coombs S., Conley R.A., Bodznick D. (1995) "Hindbrain sensory processing in lateral line, electrosensory, and auditory systems: a comparative overview of anatomical and functional similarities". Aud. Neurosci., Vol 1, 207-231.
47. Munday P.L., Jones G.P., Caley M.J. (2001) "Interspecific competition and coexistence in a guild of coral-dwelling fishes". Ecology, Vol 82, 2177-2189. [Crossref]
48. Musick J.A., Burgess G., Cailliet G., Camhi M., Fordham S. (2000) "Management of sharks and their relatives (Elasmobranchii)". Fisheries, Vol 25, 9-13. [Crossref]
49. Myers R.A., Baum J.K., Shepherd T.D., Powers S.P., Peterson C.H. (2007) "Cascading effects of the loss of apex predatory sharks from a coastal ocean". Science, Vol 315, 1846-1850. [Crossref]
50. Nelson D.R., Johnson R.H. (1980) "Behavior of the reef sharks of Rangiroa, French Polynesia". Nat. Geo. Soc. Res. Rep., Vol 12, 479-498.
51. O’Connell C.P., Guttridge T.L., Brooks J., Finger J.S., Gruber S.H., He P. (2013) "Behavioral modification of visually deprived lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) towards magnetic fields". J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., Vol 453, 131-137. [Crossref]
52. O’Connell C.P., Hyun S.-Y., Rillahan C.B., He P. (2014) "Bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) exclusion properties of the Sharksafe barrier and behavioral validation using the ARIS sonar technology". Glob. Ecol. Cons., Vol 2, 300-314.
53. Polis G.A. (1981) "The evolution and dynamics of intraspecific predation". Ann. Rev. Ecol. Sys., Vol 12, 225-251. [Crossref]
54. Ranåker L., Nilsson P.A., Brönmark C. (2012) "Effects of degraded optical conditions on behavioural responses to alarm cues in a freshwater fish". PLoS One, Vol 7(6), e38411. [Crossref]
55. Rivera-Vicente A.C., Sewell J., Tricas T.C. (2011) "Electrosensitive spatial vectors in elasmobranch fishes: implications for source localization". PLoS One, Vol 6, e16008. [Crossref]
56. Robbins W.D., Peddemors V.M., Kennelly S.J. (2011) "Assessment of permanent magnets and electropositive metals to reduce the line-based capture of Galapagos sharks, Carcharhinus galapagensis". Fish. Res., Vol 109, 100-106. [Crossref]
57. Schoener T.W. (1983) "Field experiments on interspecific competition". Amer. Nat., Vol 122(2), 240-285. [Crossref]
58. Shafir S., Rinkevich B. (2010) "Integrated long-term mid-water coral nurseries: a management instrument evolving into a floating ecosystem". U. Maur. Res. J., Vol 16, 365-386.
59. Smit C.F., Peddemors V.M. (2003) "Estimating the probability of a shark attack when using an electric repellent". S. Afr. Stat. J., Vol 37, 59-78.
60. Smith E.D. (1966) "Electrical shark barrier research". Geo-Mar. Tech., Vol 2, 10-14.
61. Smith E.D. (1973) "Electric anti-shark cable". Civil Eng., Vol 68, 174-176.
62. Smith E.D. (1974) Electro-physiology of the electrical shark-repellant. Tran. In. Elect. Eng., 166-181.
63. Snyder D.E. (2003) "Invited overview: conclusions from a review of electrofishing and its harmful effects on fish". Rev. Fish Biol. Fish., Vol 13, 445-453. [Crossref]
64. Souter D.W., Lindén O. (2000) "The health and future of coral reef systems". Ocean Coast. Manag., Vol 43, 657-688. [Crossref]
65. South African National Space Agency (SANSA) (2012) Interim report on measurement and analysis of the electric fields produced by the SharkPOD and Shark Shield. Doc No: 6035-0006-722-A1.
66. Spalding M.D., Grenfell A.M. (1997) "New estimates of global and regional coral reef areas". Coral Reefs, Vol 16, 225-230. [Crossref]
67. Spalding M.D. (1997) "Mapping global coral reef distribution". In: Proceeding of 8th International Coral Reef Symposium, vol. 2, pp.  1555-1560.
68. Spalding M.D. (2000) "Spatial variation in coral reef fish biodiversity at intermediate scales around oceanic islands". In: Proceeding of 9th International Coral Reef Symposium, vol. 1, pp.  23-27.
69. Stevens J.D., Bonfil R., Dulvy N.K., Walker P.A. (2000) "The effects of fishing on sharks, rays, and chimaeras (chondrichthyans), and the implications for marine ecosystems". ICES J. Mar. Sci., Vol 57, 476-494. [Crossref]
70. Stiling P.D., Brodbeck B.V., Strong D.R. (1984) "Intraspecific competition in Hydrellia valida (Diptera: Ephydridae), a leaf miner of Spartina alterniflora". Ecology, Vol 65(2), 660-662. [Crossref]
71. Stoner A.W., Kaimmer S.M. (2008) "Reducing elasmobranch bycatch: laboratory investigation of rare Earth metal and magnetic deterrents with spiny dogfish and Pacific halibut". Fish. Res., Vol 92, 162-168. [Crossref]
72. Tricas T.C. (2001) "The neuroscience of the elasmobranch electrosensory world: why peripheral morphology shapes behavior". Environ. Biol. Fishes, Vol 60, 77-92. [Crossref]

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Animal Biology — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation