Briefly can you describe the focus of your research and the species you work on?
I lead the Southern Shark Ecology Group (SSEG) research lab at Flinders University. The SSEG delivers high quality research on the biology, ecology and population status of chondrichthyan (sharks, rays, skates, and chimaeras), as well as assessments of their vulnerability to fishing pressure, interactions with humans and related public perception. The primary aims of our research include the determination of life history characteristics of sharks to improve assessments of their vulnerabilities to human, environmental and climatic impact, and investigations of their movement dynamics and residency patterns using acoustic telemetry and satellite tagging. Our group also provides research-based advice to managers and policy makers on issues associated with sharks and rays.
Over the years, we have worked on a wide range of species including wobbegongs, Port Jackson sharks, grey reef sharks, bronze whalers, dusky sharks, blacktip reef sharks, nervous sharks, smooth rays, fiddler rays, and white sharks.
How did you get involved in shark research and what advice would you give those interested in studying them?
I started being interested in sharks at 11 years old during my last year of primary school and spent my entire high school learning about them through books and non-sensationalistic documentaries. I then worked towards obtaining as much volunteering and field experience as possible throughout my undergraduate degree, which helped me obtaining a PhD scholarship at Macquarie University in Sydney.
Students interested in a career in marine biology or shark ecology should be motivated and need to differentiate themselves from the rest of the other students. There are many opportunities to get involved and gain additional experience outside of the normal degree curriculum. Such experience will enable them to increase their knowledge outside of the theoretical components of their degree and allow them to meet senior scientists and other like-minded people.
Please provide links to any of your research you would like to showcase.