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Natural Science

The Case Against Shark Fin Trade Bans

Conservation, fisheries, marine science, Natural Science, Public perceptions of wildlife, Science, sharks, SustainabilityMay 12, 20170

The United States Congress is considering a nationwide ban on buying, selling, or trading shark fins. While several of my posts and tweets have briefly discussed my stance on such policies, I’ve never laid out my full argument in one post. Here is why I, as a shark conservation biologist, oppose banning the shark fin trade within […]

The Case for Shark Fin Trade Bans

Conservation, marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharks0

Mariah Pfleger is a marine scientist at Oceana, an international marine conservation non-profit, advising both the responsible fishing and sharks campaigns. She graduated from Florida State University in 2012 where she studied coastal sharks and their relatives. In 2016 she earned her Master’s degree from the University of West Florida where she researched both coastal […]

The Old Man and the Deep Sea

deep seaMay 9, 20170

Torben Wolff, legendary deep-sea scientist and last surviving member of the Galathea II expedition, which plumbed the Philippine Trench and recovered biological material from more than 10,000 meters for the first time in history, died in his sleep on May 2, 2017. He was 97. Torben will be remembered for his monumental contributions to deep-sea oceanography, […]

Scientists deploy satellite tags on rarely studied sawsharks for the first time

marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharksMarch 23, 2017

An Australian research expedition has successfully deployed three satellite telemetry tags on sawsharks for the first time! These rarely-seen sharks have a toothy rostrum similar to a sawfish, but are true sharks while sawfish are rays. Sawshark rostrums also have sensory barbels, unlike the rostrums of sawfish. “This is actually a good example of convergent […]

Please don’t ride sharks, and other great tips from the new guide to responsible shark diving

Conservation, marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharksMarch 12, 2017

Shark wildlife tourism* is a growing marine industry with big implications for shark conservation. While there are many competing definitions, generally shark wildlife tourism refers to SCUBA dive operators who offer trips that guarantee that you’ll see sharks, often through the use of bait or chum to attract sharks to the divers. This has become a contentious […]

Rumors of the lesser electric ray’s demise have been greatly exaggerated

fisheries, marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharks, UncategorizedFebruary 23, 2017

The lesser electric ray, a small sand-dwelling ray that lives from North Carolina to Brazil, has been considered one of the most endangered marine fish on Earth. A 2005 paper reported that 98% of these rays had been wiped out, a decline attributed to shrimp trawling bycatch. This paper resulted in these animals getting classified as IUCN Red List […]

Bonnethead sharks, one of the smallest hammerheads, may actually be more than one species

marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharksJanuary 5, 2017

Bonnethead sharks, one of the smallest members of the hammerhead shark family Sphyrnidae, have a special place in my heart. For many years, the avatar I used for science communication efforts, including posts on this blog, was a picture of me with a bonnethead. These sharks, which can grow up to about 5 feet long, are found […]

When I talk about Climate Change, I don’t talk about science.

#SciComm, climate change, Conservation, Natural Science, ScienceJanuary 3, 2017

Climate Change is real. It’s happening now. And the best available data points to us as the cause. That the foundational science is settled is a point of unending frustration to scientists, science writers, and policy advocates who face continuous partisan push back, from whitewashing government websites to threatening scientists with legal repercussions for reporting […]

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