Shark Research : Emerging Technologies and Applications for the Field and Laboratory book cover
1st Edition

Shark Research
Emerging Technologies and Applications for the Field and Laboratory

ISBN 9781138032927
Published September 18, 2018 by CRC Press
408 Pages 79 Color & 30 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Over the last decade, the study of shark biology has benefited from the development, refinement, and rapid expansion of novel techniques and advances in technology. These have given new insight into the fields of shark genetics, feeding, foraging, bioenergetics, imaging, age and growth, movement, migration, habitat preference, and habitat use. This pioneering book, written by experts in shark biology, examines technologies such as autonomous vehicle tracking, underwater video approaches, molecular genetics techniques, and accelerometry, among many others. Each detailed chapter offers new insights and promises for future studies of elasmobranch biology, provides an overview of appropriate uses of each technique, and can be readily extended to other aquatic fish and marine mammals and reptiles.

Including chapter authors who were pioneers in developing some of the technologies discussed in the book, this book serves as the first single-source reference with in-depth coverage of techniques appropriate for the laboratory and field study of sharks, skates, and rays. It concludes with a unique section on Citizen Science and its application to studies of shark biology.

This is a must-read for any marine biologist or scientist working in the field of shark biology, as well as marine biology students and graduates.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Dietary Biomarkers in Shark Foraging and Movement Ecology

[Samantha E.M. Munroe, Lauren Meyer, and Michael R. Heithaus]

Chapter 2

Size-Based Insights into the Ecosystem Role of Sharks and Rays

[Nicholas K. Dulvy and Rowan Trebilco]

Chapter 3

Advances in the Application of High-Resolution Biologgers to Elasmobranch Fishes

[Nicholas M. Whitney, Karissa O. Lear, Adrian C. Gleiss, Nicholas Payne, and Connor F. White]

Chapter 4

Using Aerial Surveys to Investigate the Distribution, Abundance, and Behavior of Sharks and Rays

[Jeremy J. Kiszka and Michael R. Heithaus]

Chapter 5

Animal-Borne Video Cameras and Their Use to Study Shark Ecology and Conservation

[Yannis P. Papastamatiou, Carl G. Meyer, Yuuki Y. Watanabe, and Michael R. Heithaus]

Chapter 6

Use of Autonomous Vehicles for Tracking and Surveying of Acoustically Tagged Elasmobranchs

[Christopher G. Lowe, Connor F. White, and Christopher M. Clark]

Chapter 7

The Use of Stationary Underwater Video for Sampling Sharks

[Euan S. Harvey, Julia Santana-Garcon, Jordan Goetze, Benjamin J. Saunders, and Mike Cappo]

Chapter 8

Acoustic Telemetry

[Michelle R. Heupel, Steven T. Kessel, Jordan K. Matley, and Colin A. Simpfendorfer]

Chapter 9

Imaging Technologies in the Field and Laboratory

[Kara E. Yopak, Jeffrey C. Carrier, and Adam P. Summers]

Chapter 10

History and Mystery of Age and Growth Studies in Elasmobranchs: Common Methods and Room for Improvement

[Lisa J. Natanson, Allen H. Andrews, Michelle S. Passerotti, Sabine P. Wintner]

Chapter 11

Near-Infrared Spectroscopy for Shark Ageing and Biology

[Cassandra L. Rigby, William J. Foley, and Colin A. Simpfendorfer]

Chapter 12

Photographic Identification of Sharks

[Simon J. Pierce, Jason Holmberg, Alison A. Kock, and Andrea D. Marshall]

Chapter 13

Genetics and Genomics for Fundamental and Applied Research on Elasmobranchs

[Jennifer R. Ovenden, Christine Dudgeon, Pierre Feutry, Kevin Feldheim, and Gregory E. Maes]

Chapter 14

Environmental DNA (eDNA): A Valuable Tool for Ecological Inference

and Management of Sharks and Their Relatives

[Agnes Le Port, Judith Bakker, Madalyn K. Cooper, Roger Huerlimann, and Stefano Mariani]

Chapter 15

Shark CSI・The Application of DNA Forensics to Elasmobranch Conservation

[Diego Cardeñosa and Demian D. Chapman]

Chapter 16

Citizen Science in Shark and Ray Research and Conservation:

Strengths, Opportunities, Considerations, and Pitfalls

[Andrew Chin and Gretta Pecl]

Chapter 17

Social Science and Its Application to the Studies of Shark Biology

[Karin Gerhardt, Amy Diedrich, and Vanessa Jaiteh]

Chapter 18

Network Analysis and Theory in Shark Ecology・Methods and Applications

[Johann Mourier, Elodie Lédée, Tristan Guttridge, and David M.P. Jacoby]

Chapter 19

Satellite Tracking Technologies and Their Application to Shark Movement Ecology

[Luciana C. Ferreira, Kate L. Mansfield, Michele Thums, and Mark G. Meekan]

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Jeffrey C. Carrier, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Albion College (MI) where he was a faculty member from 1979 to 2010. He earned a B.S. in Biology in 1970 from the University of Miami and completed a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Miami in 1974. While at Albion College, Dr. Carrier received multiple awards for teaching and scholarship and held Endowed Professorships in Biology. His primary research interests center on various aspects of the physiology and ecology of nurse sharks in the Florida Keys. His most recent work investigated the reproductive biology and mating behaviors of this species in a long-term study from an isolated region of the Florida Keys. Carrier’s projects with acoustic telemetry, animal-borne video, ultrasound and endoscopy, and BRUVs drives his interest in applications of technology to the study of the biology of sharks and their relatives. Dr. Carrier has been a long-time member of the American Elasmobranch Society, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Sigma Xi, the Society for Animal Behavior, and the Council on Undergraduate Research. He served multiple terms as President of the American Elasmobranch Society and received several distinguished service awards from the society. He holds an appointment as an Adjunct Research Scientist with Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research. In addition to his publications in the scientific literature, he has written and edited five previously published books on sharks and their biology.


Michael R. Heithaus, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences & Education at Florida International University in Miami, FL where he has been a faculty member since 2003.  He received his B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College (1995) in Ohio and his Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University (2001) in British Columbia, Canada.  He was a postdoctoral scientist and staff scientist at the Center for Shark Research and also served as a research fellow at the National Geographic Society’s Remote Imaging Department. At FIU, Dr. Heithaus served as the Director of the Marine Sciences Program before becoming the Director of the School of Environment, Arts, and Society.  Dr. Heithaus is a behavioral and community ecologist.  His main research interests are in understanding the ecological roles and importance of large predators, especially their potential to impact community structure through non-consumptive effects.  His work also explores the factors influencing behavioral decisions, especially of large marine taxa including marine mammals, sharks and rays, and sea turtles, and the importance of individual variation in behavior in shaping ecological interactions.  Dr. Heithaus’ is the co-lead of the Global FinPrint project - a world-wide survey of elasmobranchs on coral reefs.  His lab is engaged in marine conservation and research projects around the world and has ongoing long-term projects in Shark Bay, Australia and the coastal Everglades of southwest Florida. 


Colin Simpfendorfer, PhD, is a Professor in the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University (Queensland, Australia), and currently serves as the Associate Dean Research. He has also worked at in the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory (Florida) and the Shark Fisheries Section of the Western Australian Department of Fisheries (Perth, Australia). He received his BSc. (Marine Biology and Zoology) in 1986, and Ph.D. (Fisheries Science) in 1993, both from James Cook University. He has spent his career studying the life history, ecology, status and conservation of sharks and rays with the principle aim of providing scientific information for improving their management. He regularly provides scientific advice to governments, NGOs and industry. He has been at the forefront of applying new technology and approaches to sharks and rays, including early work on the analysis of acoustic telemetry data, using eDNA as a means of surveying for critically endangered sawfish, and is principle investigator for the Global Finprint project surveying sharks and rays on coral reefs globally. Dr Simpfendorfer is an author on over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers on sharks and rays, and has trained more than 30 MSc and Ph.D. students (some of which have authored or co-authored chapters in this book). He is currently the Co-Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group which works to improve the conservation status of this important group of ocean predators through assessing their status, developing conservation plans and delivering quality scientific information to decision makers. He also serves on Australia’s national Threatened Species Scientific Committee.


"I can’t imagine a more useful introductory reference guide for new or prospective graduate students starting their career in marine biology than “Shark Research: Emerging Technologies and Applications for the Field And Laboratory”. This book is designed for people who have little to no familiarity with a research discipline but are about to start working in that discipline, a large and important audience that is often ignored by books and review papers geared towards people who are already experts. So many graduate students are told to learn a new research method by reading technical literature that assumes they already know this stuff, resulting in stress and frustration.

The book consists of 19 chapters, each focusing on a different research method commonly used by shark and ray researchers and each written by a team of experts from that discipline. Topics include tried-and-true research methods like ageing sharks, tracking sharks with telemetry tags, and population genetics, as well as new and emerging methods like drones and environmental DNA. There are even chapters on citizen science and social science!

The chapters start from first principles, assuming that readers know little to nothing about the subject of that chapter. Chapters summarize key background information you need to know before understanding a research method, explains how to use that research method, and walks you through case studies of how those research methods have been used. Many have photographs and diagrams showing what it looks like using those methods in the field or lab, almost all walk you through analysis of some sample data.

You won’t be an expert in a brand-new highly-technical subject after reading a chapter of a textbook, but that’s not the goal here. This book provides key background information and basic introductory explanations that graduate students will need to understand the primary literature in that discipline, filling an important gap in graduate student education.  I wish there had been a book like this available when I started my Masters research!"  

- David Shiffman, Southern Fried Science June 2019


"Besides bringing exciting and important new research findings, tools, and techniques to the table, Dr. Jeff Carrier’s most recent contribution Shark Research also provides a keen roadmap for the future of shark science."

- Toby S. Daly-Engel, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, USA


"The editors are to be congratulated for publishing a synoptic book that highlights the use of rapidly developing, novel, technological methods to study the ecology of sharks and rays. With this advanced tool kit now available under one cover, it will enable advanced studies that were heretofore impossible, but nonetheless important... This will break barriers that have hindered scientific progress toward understanding the ecology and conservation of chondrichthan fishes, and other organisms as well."

–Gregor M. Cailliet, Professor Emeritus, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and Program Director Emeritus, Pacific Shark Research Center.


"If you are keen to see how new technologies and applications are shaping modern shark research, then this is a must have book. I will be recommending this book to anyone interested in marine science. It’s impressive coverage of topics from environmental DNA to social science applications provides the reader with a more holistic view of shark research."

- Will White, Senior Curator, CSIRO Australian National Fish Collection, Hobart, AUS


The future of shark research is here. Advanced sampling technologies and analytical techniques are already changing the landscape of many fields of shark research. From UAVs to AVEDs, AUVs to ROVs, BRUVs to MBESs, CT scans to MRIs, NIRS to photogrammetry, genomics to eDNA, to name only a few of these platforms and techniques, this book offers a compendium of state-of-the-art technologies and methods that are quickly becoming commonplace and that will continue to evolve and revolutionize how we study these animals. Through its nineteen chapters, the book describes how decreasing costs of electronics and increased miniaturization, quality, power, and types of sensory platforms are leading to accumulation of larger datasets, which in tandem with increasing collaborative initiatives, computing power, and advances in computer science and modelling techniques will result in a new understanding of crucial aspects of elasmobranch ecology and behavior. This book should be of interest to students, academics, and professionals working on this and other groups of marine animals to keep abreast of the latest applications of advanced sampling technologies and analytical techniques that are being used to study elasmobranchs.

- Enric Cortés, NOAA / NMFS / Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Panama City (FL) Laboratory, USA


"This volume contains 19 chapters covering the use of a multitude of new technological tools available to study elasmobranch fishes. Co-authored by more than 60 active shark researchers, Shark Research summarizes the state of the science in shark study. It belongs in the library of anyone with a serious interest in elasmobranch research."

- John A. (Jack) Musick, Prof. Emeritus, Va. Inst Marine Science, USA


"Innovative technologies are rapidly advancing the field of shark research. This must have book features leading innovators in the field who have contributed informative chapters summarizing the current state of research in a variety of fields. Whether you’re a student aspiring to study sharks, a professional, or just keenly interested in the current state of shark research, this is the book for you."

- David A. Ebert, Director, Pacific Shark Research Center, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, USA


"This timely volume provides an outstanding overview of how technological advances enable researchers to address formerly intractable questions.  As we look back at this volume in a decade or two, the featured technology, that is currently avant-guarde, will be de rigueur, but these early adopters will be recognized for applying this technology to the development of entirely new methods of inquiry." 

- Stephen M Kajiura, Professor of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, USA