The folks over at the Cape Eleuthera Institute have just wrapped up their 2016 Oceanic Whitetip Shark tagging program. This concludes their sixth year of the program which has now caught and tagged nearly 60 individual whitetips in the waters surrounding Cat Island.
The goals of the study are to:
- Determine generalized movements and determine high-use areas of sharks in relation to the Bahamas shark sanctuary.
- Examine diving behavior through high resolution temperature and depth data.
- Investigate potential hormone markers to identify reproductive cycles.
- Examine prey-preference potential seasonal diet switches through tracing relative concentrations of Carbon and Nitrogen isotopes.
- Gather baseline genetics data which will be incorporated into fin-trade management, and will detect fins from Oceanic whitetips found in the Western Atlantic.
Investigating these large knowledge gaps are intrinsic to the contemporary management of oceanic whitetip shark populations, and will provide novel insights into the biology and ecology of a severely threatened apex predator.