For information on this research and the RJD Program, please visit: rjd.miami.edu/
Recent advances in satellite tagging and tracking are allowing scientists to “spy” into the secret lives of marine animals. We are currently using satellite tags to track the movements of threatened shark species in the subtropical Atlantic. The goal of this work is to understand the migratory routes and residency patterns of these species to identify “hot spots” in place and time that are critical for mating, giving birth and feeding as well as locations where these animals are vulnerable to destructive fishing. By characterizing and identifying these hot spots, we can help supply policy makers with the data they need to implement appropriate management strategies that will improve protection for these species (i.e. marine reserve design). Additionally, our team is also working with manufacturers to design, engineer and test new types of satellite tags, including new solar powered transmitters.
Some of the major questions we are currently investigating include:
1. What is the distribution and scale of seasonal movement patterns of Hammerhead, Bull, Mako and Tiger Sharks in the Caribbean?
2. Do these species exhibit site fidelity and/or habitat specialization and if so, is there evidence of inter- and intra-specific differences?
3. To what extent is shark habitat use divided among different marine protected and political–economic zones?
Is long-term and large-scale shark movements influenced by ecotourism activities?
4. Can satellite tags be used to examine predation risk effects in marine systems?
Video Editor: Keenan Warner
Contributing Cinematographer: Jim Abernethy (scuba-adventures.com/)
Contributing Cinematographer: Austin Gallagher (austingallagher.com/)
Contributing Cinematographer: Christine Shepard (christineshepard.com/)