Save Our Seas Winter 2017 - Issue 08

The Save Our Seas magazine is a visual celebration of the projects the Save Our Seas Foundation is supporting around the world. Powerful and unique imagery highlight the incredible diversity and beauty of nature, and the impact that we, humans, have on the Oceans. We thrive to produce both a reference magazine for marine conservation bonding compelling visuals and revealing content, and a driver for optimism, showcasing the ripple effect that one organisation can have in the world of ocean conservation. «In the effort to protect our oceans, the Save Our Seas Foundation funds and supports research, conservation and education projects worldwide, focusing primarily on charismatic threatened wildlife and their habitats.» Save Our Seas Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland

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SAMUEL GRUBER Samuel founded the Bimini Biological Field Station (Shark Lab) and serves as its current director. ‘Doc’ Gruber, as he is affectionately known by students and colleagues, has been driven by a passion for sharks throughout his nearly 50-year research career. He founded the American Elasmobranch Society in 1983, and the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group, which he led as chairperson between 1991 and 1996. Samuel now focuses on the behaviour, ecology and conservation biology of sharks. CLARE KEATING DALY A Master’s degree in commerce gives ocean-loving Clare a unique perspective on marine conservation. While her qualifications bring fresh insights into conservation, her significant ocean experience includes scuba instruction in the Philippines and Thailand and working as a research assistant on bull and tiger sharks while conducting her own studies…

3 min

Having been born in the early 1970s, I grew up when the environmental movement was taking off. Although the plight of sharks was first highlighted in the ’80s, the unfortunate timing of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) hampered the public’s empathy for the declining shark populations in those early years. Even today, the lingering effects of the film remain an obstacle to shark conservation, despite a much better understanding of these mysterious creatures of the oceans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species registers more than a thousand species of chondrichthyan fishes (sharks, rays and chimaeras), close to half of which are classified as Data Deficient; an estimated quarter of all chondrichthyans are listed as Threatened. And while a significant number of new species have been discovered over the past couple…

2 min
where we work 2017

SOSF Centres 1 D’Arros Research Centre, Seychelles | Clare & Ryan Daly 2 Shark Education Centre, South Africa | Eleanor Yeld Hutchings 3 Shark Research Center, USA | Mahmood Shivji AFRICA 4 Sawfish Education Book | Ruth Leeney MADAGASCAR 5 Sawfishes | Ruth Leeney MAURITIUS 6 Sperm Whales | Fabrice Schnoller SENEGAL 7 Sawfish Expedition in the Casamance River | Nigel Downing SEYCHELLES 8 eDNA | Luca Fumagalli & Tony Dejean 9 Coral Bleaching | Elena Gadoutsi & Julie Hawkins 10 Humphead Wrasse | Kevin Weng & Andrew Grey 11 Juvenile Sharks | Ornella Weideli 12 Lemon Shark | Ryan Daly 13 Lemon Shark | Evan Byrnes 14 Lemon Shark | Jenna Hounslow & Adrian Gleiss 15 Marine Biodiversity | Ryan Daly & Guy Stevens 16 Oceanography | Phil Hosegood 17 Reef Manta Ray | Lauren Peel & Guy Stevens 18 Shearwaters | Danielle van den Heever 19 Stingrays | Chantel Elston 20 Turtles |…

4 min
ocean view

Prestigious win for photography grant recipient Justin Gilligan has been announced as one of the winners in Australia Geographic’s Nature Photographer of the Year competition for 2017. A freelance photographer hailing from New South Wales, Gilligan was the recipient of an SOSF marine photography grant in 2016. Together with journalist Pippa Ehrlich, he documented the impact of encroaching human development on Florida’s marine biodiversity. 'Urban Pioneers: Florida’s Marine Wildlife' took him to the swamps and keys, photographing tarpon and nurse sharks, loggerhead turtles and silky sharks. He was honoured this year by the South Australian Museum and Australia Geographic for his photo ‘Predatory pursuit’. In the image, an army of spider crabs marches in an astounding procession, tackled by a brazen Maori octopus Macroctopus maorum, the largest of the octopus species…

2 min
sawfish connection adds another piece to the research puzzle

A surprising connection has been made between the first smalltooth sawfish Pristis pectinata tagged at the Bimini Biological Field Station and the pregnant female that delivered five pups in the first recorded sawfish birth in the wild on 7 December 2016. Dr Dean Grubbs, associate director of research at the Florida State University, and his team caught the female late last year. ‘It was clear she had been tagged; there was a part of some sort of streamer tag under the side of her dorsal fin,’ explains Grubbs in an interview. Few sawfishes of that size have been tagged in The Bahamas or Florida, but unfortunately the tag numbers were indistinguishable. However, blood and DNA samples were taken from the mother and the pups and sent to Kevin Feldheim at…

2 min
shortfin mako sharks in big trouble

Traditional methods of monitoring shortfin makos Isurus oxyrinchus in the western North Atlantic have greatly underestimated the impact of fishing on their populations. A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society shows that fishing mortality (the rate at which sharks are killed by fisheries) for shortfin makos is actually 10 times higher than previous assessments indicated. Michael Byrne and Mahmoud Shivji from the Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), together with their co-authors, employed satellite telemetry data as a fisheries-independent tool for monitoring mako sharks with near real-time tracking, allowing them to see directly how many were captured. Shortfin makos are long-lived, highly mobile sharks whose habitat overlaps with that of commercially targeted tuna and billfishes. The result is that this shark, listed as Vulnerable on…