10% of profits from your purchase will go directly towards the Shark Research and Conservation Program (SRC) at the University of Miami, helping to fund important research focused on the ecology, movement and conservation of tiger sharks as well as other local shark species. In addition to research, the SRC program is actively aimed at student education and community outreach through extensive citizen science and internship programs.
Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “Near Threatened”, and thus, research, education and outreach is essential to ensuring healthy populations. As one of the ocean’s largest predators, these critical species sit at the top of the food chain, helping to regulate the delicate balance of populations of those beneath in the ecosystem. Decreased populations can result in trophic cascades, impacting the abundance and behavior of other species lower on the food chain. Multiple research methods have shown that some species of sharks have declined in population by 90% or more during the last several decades in areas where they were formerly abundant. These declines are due to direct targeting in commercial fisheries, mostly for their fins and sometimes meat. Additionally, sharks are often caught unintentionally as bycatch in many other fisheries, caught and killed in some recreational fisheries (unlike catch and release), and may also be impacted by humans more indirectly through threats like habitat loss, pollution, and human-driven declines in the fish species sharks rely on for food.
A female tiger shark rests on the submerged platform with a water pump flushing oxygenated ocean water over its gills as the team attaches a satellite tag. Image by Jim Abernethy.
Sharks have been in the ocean for more than 450 million years. Granted, they’ve evolved a bit since then, but they’ve survived five major extinction events! Help us to celebrate these amazing animals, support research to inform management of their populations, and use your gear as a conversation piece to educate others.
Learn more about some of the research conducted by the Shark Research and Conservation Program. This Waterlust video explains the findings of a paper published in the scientific journal of Diversity and Distributions entitled "Use of marine protected areas and exclusive economic zones in the subtropical western North Atlantic Ocean by large highly mobile sharks."
The study investigated the core home habitat use of bull, great hammerhead and tiger sharks tagged in waters off south Florida and the northern Bahamas to understand if these highly mobile shark species might benefit from spatial protection, such as marine protected areas (MPAs).
Click here for the link to the full paper.