Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Sex-Biased Dispersal Across the Atlantic? A New Look at Coastal Sharks

EPA Grant Number: U916136
Title: Sex-Biased Dispersal Across the Atlantic? A New Look at Coastal Sharks
Investigators: Schultz, Jennifer K.
Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago
EPA Project Officer: Cobbs-Green, Gladys M.
Project Period: January 1, 2003 through January 1, 2006
Project Amount: $95,913
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2003)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Aquatic Ecosystems , Fellowship - Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystems

Description:

Objective:

The objective of this research project is to assess gene flow across the Atlantic between geographically defined populations using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA analyses. Rapid decline in shark populations has been attributed to the growing demand for shark fins and unregulated commercial and recreational fishing. Although the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act prevents the overfishing of sharks in national waters, it may not be enough to protect these populations. Recent studies have shown that large "coastal" sharks can migrate long distances, even across the open ocean. Over the past 10 years, the finning industry has exploded in West Africa, causing shark populations there to plummet. Whether our protected coastal sharks are capable of making trans-Atlantic migrations into these unregulated waters is not yet known.

Approach:

My research project will further elucidate the migratory behavior of the lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, a coastal shark. I propose to assess gene flow across the Atlantic between geographically defined populations using microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA analyses. The presence of gene flow would indicate that the sharks protected by national legislation may fall prey to fishermen in foreign seas. This could act as an impetus for international collaboration in the management of shark fisheries.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, coastal sharks, finning industry, shark fins, sharks, lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, commercial and recreational fishing, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, FCMA, gene flow, shark populations, migration, trans-Atlantic migrations.

Top of Page

The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

Jump to main content.