Call for citizen scientists to submit shark sightings


By LabOnline Staff
Tuesday, 14 April, 2015


Researchers from the Support Our Sharks (SOS) Ocean Conservation Society have launched the global database SharkBase - a citizen science project for mapping the global distribution of sharks.

SOS founder Dr Ryan Kempster explained that effective management of sharks starts with an understanding of their population status, with many species at significant risk of unrecoverable decline. Researchers are currently spending countless hours and dollars trying to find and study sharks, he said - but with advances in modern technology, almost everyone now has access to a camera phone that they can use to record wildlife encounters.

Dr Ryan Kempster with a white shark. Image credit: Support Our Sharks.

Anyone who has ever taken a photo of an encounter with a wild shark, or heard of a sighting through the news, is encouraged to submit it to SharkBase. Dr Kempster explained that the website exists as “a place to bring all of these sightings together, to be used by scientists to better understand the distribution and population structure of sharks around the world”.

The information will also be used to infer patterns of marine ecosystem health, said SOS Education Coordinator Channing Egeberg, given the vital role played by sharks in marine environments. All data will be freely available to the public.

For more information about the project, visit http://www.shark-base.org/.

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