Suitable pelagic shark habitat in Australia is mostly unprotected

28-March-2020 (written by Charlotte Birkmanis)

Sequeira Lab’s first research paper for 2020 is out on the March issue of Global Ecology & Conservation. In this paper, led by Charlotte Birkmanis, we focused on developing statistical models to understand where and why pelagic sharks occur within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone and whether the areas where they occur are protected.

We found that sea surface temperature and turbidity were the best drivers of distribution for the seven pelagic shark species examined. We then used these results to predict areas where habitat was most suitable for these sharks within Australian waters. Our results show that suitable pelagic shark habitat was limited in fully protected areas within marine parks, and in fact, was found mostly at locations open to fishing. This is Charlotte’s first PhD chapter and is freely available online!

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