Deep sea exploration
Shark communities of the deep sea remain poorly characterized and understood. We are exploring deep sea elasmobranch populations throughout the Bahamas in hopes of advancing our understanding of ecosystems.
Impact: Data is being used to inform the creation of knowledge of this under-studied region of our oceans, including the describing of new species and range extensions for deep sea exploration.
Artificial reefs are man-made structures that directly or indirectly provide habitat for marine life. In Winter 2017, we partnered with a team of philanthropists, artists, and entrepreneurs to sink a WWII vessel, one of the few to survive the attack on Pearl Harbor, to create an artificial reef in the British Virgin Islands that will seek to rehabilitate and harbor marine life for decades.
This new reef is a platform for launching numerous behavioral and physiological projects surrounding the potential rehabilitation of native fish populations, with a focus on sharks and groupers.
Using environmental DNA (eDNA) obtained from water samples, we are able to detect ecosystem changes before and after the ship is sunk. The resulting DNA is sequenced in order to detect the presence, absence, and relative abundance of sharks and groupers in the given area over time.
Impact: Data is being used to provide evidence on the restoration of the local ecosystems through the reef.