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Tracking the Endangered Oceanic Whitetip Shark

Stony Brook's Demian Chapman searches for sharks on a boat in the oceanFor humans, sharks have long been the source of fascination and fear. These top predators are fast disappearing; largely due to a fishing industry that takes more than 100 million sharks out of the oceans’ depths each year.

Why should we care? Well, sharks are actually a major part of the oceans ecosystem. They help keep populations of other fish and marine animals in check by hunting sick, injured, and dying fish so that populations stay strong and healthy.

Demian Chapman, an assistant professor at Stony Brook University, studies the oceanic whitetip shark, which was once the most common shark in tropical waters and is now one of the rarest.  Chapman traveled to the Bahamas where the oceanic whitetip sharks are protected, following the mindset of “you can’t conserve what you don’t know.”

Chapman and his team have been tagging the sharks, tracking their movements measuring such variables as light, depth, and temperature in an effort to better understand their migratory behavior.

Damien’s research has led to the establishments of marine reserves in Belize and the Bahamas – a clear demonstration of how SUNY is making a difference.

To learn about these research efforts, read about New Research on Migratory Behavior of Endangered Oceanic Whitetip Sharks from stonybrook.edu.

 

    Written by Hanna Teal

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