Conservation Science

Elasmobranch Reproduction

Approximately 25% of all elasmobranch species (sharks and rays) are threatened with extinction. Elasmobranchs are one of the oldest and most ecologically diverse group of animals on the planet. Likewise, the reproductive biology of elasmobranchs is astonishingly diverse, with reproduction observed throughout the year or seasonally, with reproductive intervals ranging from a few months to three years depending on the species. Additionally, certain species exhibit extraordinary reproductive modes such as parthenogenesis (also known as virgin births) in whitespotted bamboo sharks, and adelphophagy (also known as intrauterine cannibalism) in sand tiger sharks. SEZARC studies the reproductive biology of elasmobranch species to help facilitate self-sustaining breeding populations in aquaria that can act as insurance policies against extinction.