We are excited to announce that we have hired a new scientist, Dr Avery Paxton, to the SEZARC team. To fill knowledge gaps in our understanding of sand tiger shark, the North Carolina (NC) Aquariums, Georgia Aquarium, Florida Aquarium, Ripley’s Aquarium, and with new members, New York Aquarium and Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, SEZARC members are collectively supporting in situ sand tiger shark research. Avery will be a big part of this and will be working with in situ sand tiger sharks off the coast of North Carolina in collaboration with the North Carolina Aquariums. Avery’s study is quantifying reliance of sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) on North Carolina habitats ranging from inlets to shipwrecks.
For this project, our approach includes two main components. First, we are acoustically tagging and tracking mature female sand tiger sharks to determine whether these sharks rely on inlets of NC as pupping grounds. Second, we are remotely collecting video footage of sand tiger sharks to quantify their reliance on artificial structures, such as shipwrecks and artificial reefs, as well as nearshore soft-sediment habitats. These in situ efforts complement ex situ research being conducted by aquaria to conserve sand tiger sharks not only in NC, but also throughout their greater range in the Western North Atlantic.
Photo Credits: Underwater photo - J. McCord / UNC-CSI; Lab photo - ML Parker / UNC Research