Sharks are charismatic species that elicit people's wonder and
fear while playing key roles in natural ecosystems. As mobile top predators,
they control prey populations and connect distant ecosystems. However, many
shark populations are declining at a rapid rate because of their vulnerable
life histories and impacts of fishing and habitat modification. For this
reason, they are among the most endangered animals in the ocean. Meanwhile,
they are also the most poorly quantified group of animals on the planet as
basic information on abundance and distribution is lacking for most
species. Here I show how disparate and unconventional data sources can
contribute to fill this information gap and contribute to successfully
increase our understanding of sharks, inform management, and promote conservation.
Francesco Ferretti is a quantitative and computational marine ecologist, specializing in research synthesis. His scientific work is on marine conservation, fishery sciences, population dynamics, and quantitative ecology with a special interest in sharks and rays. He combines ecology, statistical modeling, and data science to approach questions on animal abundance and distribution, species interactions, large marine predators, top-down control, structure and function of large marine ecosystems.
Innovation Research Park Building I
4111 Monarch Way, 3rd Floor
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23508