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Sharks International: Day 2 Summary

The second day of Sharks International just concluded. This morning’s keynote address focused on how shark behavior research has changed in the last few decades, and how improved technology has made that possible. Scientists used to have to build their own acoustic tags and follow the tagged sharks around in a boat. Nowadays, tags can be on a shark for months at a time before they upload their information to a satellite, and thanks to pH, depth, and temperature sensors, they record a lot more than just location. This makes answering all sorts of questions about shark behavior possible.

Talks today focused on conservation. We heard from international legal experts about CITES and other treaties designed to protect wildlife. We learned about how shark feeding dives affect the behavior of sharks and associated reef fish, and we learned how much living sharks can be worth for ecotourism. We also learned about a recently rediscovered species of shark that had been thought extinct for a century (sadly, it’s probably going extinct soon).  I actually used up all the ink in a hotel pen taking notes.

Tomorrow there are no talks, and I’m going SCUBA diving on the Great Barrier Reef with some conference delegates. My presentation is Thursday morning.