Monitor community-level biodiversity of shark populations along Florida’s coastline
Why this project is important
Shark populations are subjected to increasing pressures from habitat degradation, pollution, and unsustainable fishing pressures and long-term monitoring can identify negative impacts and help develop ways to mitigate them. 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.
How this project is conducted
We conduct our survey using three avenues:
1 - Partner with ecotourism operators: we train staff to collect and submit data during their daily trips to sea
2 - Fill a spot: if there is space on one of our partner operators' boats, we get to hop on to collect more detailed data
3 - Sharks and Lasers trips: these are specific ecotourism trips where we introduce the data collection techniques to the general public
Our survey includes non-invasive, in-water biological and behavioral data collection techniques. We use a standardized methodology for our Underwater Visual Survey (UVS) and capture images using our underwater camera (for positive species and sex determination) with paired lasers (to determine precise length measurements).