My name is Emily Reyes, a Continuing Undergraduate Research student with Daytona State College Institute of Marine and Environmental Studies. I graduated DSC with my Associates of Science in Environmental Science Technology in May 2016 and have returned to the blog to share information about a collaborative research proposal for an exciting shark tagging and water quality correlation study I'm currently involved with.
Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) are a well-known coastal species of shark along the East Coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico which are named for and identified by their black-tipped dorsal, pectoral, anal and caudal fins. Due to its low reproductive rate and high value to fishers, this species has been classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)(Citation).
|Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)|
|Approximately 1,678 sharks pictured in this frame, taken |
during belt transect.Source
A study released in March 2016 revealed that blacktip sharks participate in what is known to be the largest aggregation of sharks in the East Coast of the United States. One belt transect conducted by the researchers of said study found shark abundance to have peaked with 12,128 individuals counted within the 75.6 km belt transect in 2011. The sharks are reported to have traveled from as far north as the waters of North Carolina in search of warmer water but there are several other factors that have not been studied that may also contribute to this migration. For example, blacktips are known to have a tolerance for low salinity environments and have entered estuaries so salinity may be as much of a contributing factor for their migration as water temperature is.
What is Not Known
Blacktip sharks are a coastal-dwelling species but have been seen several miles offshore, highly unusual behavior that may be related to changes in the marine environment. In addition to this, there may be dramatic differences in movement between male and female sharks that have been previously unobserved. By studying differences in movement between gender and relating that to various water quality parameters, we may be able to reveal a relationship between the marine environment and behavior of these sharks.
|#OurSharks Lift Platform, created by|
team researchers Josh & Dennis Munsey
- Rods & Reels
- Circle Hooks
- Bonito fish, as bait
- Shark Lift
- 2 Wildlife Computers Model 258A SPOT Tags
|Model 258A SPOT Tag in Dorsal Fin|
2. Sharks will be placed onto submerged lift platform and raised above water level
3. An irrigation hose will be placed in the mouth of the shark to flush salt-water over its gills and a water soaked towel will be placed over the eyes to reduce stress experienced by the shark
4. SPOT Tag will be screwed into a rigid section of the dorsal fin, the shark will be measured for length to determine maturity, identified as male or female and released
Water Quality Monitoring
In order to determine a correlation between shark movement and water quality, the team will be using satellite data from NOAA & NASA to obtain the Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Sea Surface Salinity & Chlorophyll Concentration data from the area where the sharks have pinged.
- Sea Surface Temperature (SST)(degrees Celsius)