Differences in Habitat Utilization and Temperature Preference between Male and Female Atlantic Stingrays Dasyatis Sabina within the Herb River near Savannah, Georgia, and Incorporating Stingray Data into a K-12 Classroom Activity
Webb, Sarah Fae
Curran, Mary C.
Department of Marine Sciences
Atlantic Stingrays Dasyatis sabina are ecosystem engineers and benthic predators inhabiting coastal waters along the eastern coast of the United States. These stingrays are seasonal residents of the Herb River near Savannah, Georgia. The purpose of this study was to determine differences in habitat utilization and temperature preferences between sexes across a 14-month study. Stingrays were surgically implanted with acoustic transmitters and a mean percent usage of receiver location was calculated, then mapped. Both male and female Atlantic Stingrays were present in all months of the study (67.5±32.51% and 79.6±28.45% of d, respectively). A few female stingrays had temperatures that were 1-6°C warmer than other stingrays for brief periods during reproductive months. It is possible that female stingrays are exhibiting maternal thermophily but only during brief periods of time. There is suggested evidence of the Atlantic Stingray exhibiting maternal thermophily in a natural setting on a fine scale.