Using a bioenergetics model, we estimated daily ration and seasonal prey consumption rates for six age classes of juvenile sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) in the lower Chesapeake Bay summer nursery area. The model, incorporating habitat and species-specific data on growth rates, metabolic rate, diet composition, water temperature (range 16.8−27.9°C), and population structure, predicted mean daily rations between 2.17 ±0.03 (age-0) and 1.30 ±0.02 (age-5) % body mass/day. These daily rations are higher than earlier predictions for sandbar sharks but are comparable to those for ecologically similar shark species. The total nursery population of sandbar sharks was predicted to consume ~124,000 kg of prey during their 4.5 month stay in the Chesapeake Bay nursery. The predicted consumption rates support the conclusion that juvenile sandbar sharks exert a lesser top-down effect on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem than do teleost piscivores and humans.
Dowd, W. W., Brill, R. W., Bushnell, P. G., and J. A. Musick. 2006. Estimating consumption rates of juvenile sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, using a bioenergetics model. Fish. Bull. 104:332-342.