Shark nurseries Florida
The project shark nurseries in Rookery Bay / Ten Thousand Islands is managed by Pat O'Donnell, in cooperation with the Mote Marine Lab (Professor Jose Castro). Since the beginning of the project until 2008, a total of 816 young sharks have been caught and measured. Fourty-four of these were recaptured and 40 were already dead or died shortly after being caught.
The project can only be managed with the help of the numerous volunteers. From year 2000 trough 2008, well over 300 volunteers supported the project donating over 7,400 hours. The engagement of volunteers has many advantages. On the one hand, the workload could not be managed without them; on the other hand they become enthusiastic embassadors for shark preservation.
Unfortunately, the houseboat from where the project was carried out sank following a hurricane in August 2004. The Foundation financed the reconstruction of the houseboat in 2005 with $7,000.
© Innerspace Visions / Shark Foundation
Illustration: The marking of a bonnethead-hammerhead shark pup (Sphyrna tiburo).
Shark nurseries are found mainly in shallow water regions in which the shark pups can grow up while being protected from larger predators. In contrast to bony fish, sharks have only a limited number of offspring. This makes it extremely important for the few young to receive the best chances for survival in their start into future shark life.
But many shallow water regions, especially the mangrove forests in warmer waters, are becoming increasingly rare because they are cleared to win land for fish and shrimp farms. The few still surviving mangrove regions are threatened by pollution and other factors mostly caused by man.
© J. Stafford-Deitsch / Shark Foundation
Illustration: Baby lemon shark between the mangroves.
The Shark Foundation supports the long-term project in Florida (USA) which is examining the biological processes in a region with many shark nurseries. The research performed in the Ten Thousand Islands region off the western coast of Florida are supposed to extend our knowledge on shark nurseries, providing information needed to really protect them. Based on this data, scientists and governments should then work out protective measures for the few remaining shark nurseries.
Presentation of the first evaluated data from the Rookery Bay Reserve / Ten Thousand Islands shark nurseries project of Pat O'Donnell.:
Rookery Poster (PDF, 304 kb)
Project leader: Pat O'Donnell
The Foundation has been financing the entire shark part of the project since 1999 which so far totals about CHF 16,800
Angel sharks in Gran Canaria
© P. Osaer, K. Narvaez Romero / Shark Foundation
Angel shark Squatina squatina
Out of the total of 21 species of Angel sharks described to date, 14 are in the red list of threatened species of the IUCN (IUCN, 2006). Ther angel shark Squatina squatina is already extinct in the North Sea and critically endangered in the Central-East Atlantic. Some areas in the southern Mediterranean and Canary islands need confirmation of possible remaining populations and conservation matters to be introduced as a matter of urgency.
No ecological information is available of this species in the Canary islands. Its remaining distribution is poorly documented. In order to produce measures to prevent this species from further extinction and its habitat from further decline it is necessary to know the vital life cycle. This will be obtained through analysis of reproduction, alimentation and habitat use.
A very important aspect of this project is not to disturb the animals and therefore to use non-invasive techniques whenever possible. For the analysis of reproduction and alimentation dead animals will be bought from local fishermen.
- Establish and determine the habitat use, the residential & seasonal patterns and abundance of the S. squatina in Gran Canaria Island.
- Develop protocol for photo-identification which allows recognition of the individuals.
- Determine the size of sexual maturity for both sexes and describe sexual dimorphism.
- Quantify fecundity, embryonic development and duration of the reproductive cycle.
- Determine alimentation habits by means of analysis of stomach content.
First results: Angel shark sightings in correlation to water temperature.
End of 2008 the team presented 2 Posters with first results. 2009 the results will be published in scientific journals.
Project leader: Philip Osaer, Krupskaya Narvaez Romero
The Foundation supports the projekt since 2008.
Invest until today: CHF 10'300.