SharkStudies is our comprehensive marine ecosystem research program that encompasses biology, ecology, socioeconomics and policy.
- Our Goals and Objectives:
- Investigate zoogeography of elasmobranchs
- Monitor community-level biodiversity to identify shifting baselines
- Identify important habitats for sharks and rays throughout their life history
- Investigate effect of environmental disturbances and anthropogenic activities on elasmobranch assemblages
- Evaluate the socioeconomics of shark-based ecotourism and establish protocols
- Assessment of state, national and international fisheries and conservation policies
Our keystone project is the long-term monitoring of the southeast Florida coastline. Our coastline is unique in its bathymetry, levels of species and habitat diversity, and the way it is utilized by stakeholders. Our survey includes non-invasive, in-water biological and behavioral data collection techniques to assess the diversity, distribution and abundance of our local species of sharks. This knowledge of how these species utilize Florida's fragile coastal ecosystems is critical to ensuring their sustainable management and conservation. The results and information collected will be used to inform management decisions and translated for the general public to increase awareness and understanding of these vulnerable animals.
The target area ranges from the Jupiter area north to Ft. Lauderdale in the south, where the continental shelf narrows, to depths of 220 ft. Sample sites will be randomly assigned latitudinal and longitudinal values within the area.
We will employ several methods including diver surveys, baited (and un-baited) remote under video surveys, aerial survey and continued collaboration with institutions such as the Bimini Biological Field Station in their large coastal shark tracking efforts using passive acoustic monitoring.
We plan to collaborate with the established shark diving operations to collect abundance data from their recreational dives. They will be given all materials and if funding is available, video survey equipment.
The results and information collected will be used to inform management decisions and translated for the general public to increase awareness and understanding of these vulnerable animals.