Research 1: Behavioral and bio-energetic strategies of pelagic predators

The open ocean is the marine equivalent of the desert, as prey is hard to come by and often occurs in sparsely distributed patches.  Oceanic top predators are likely to have selected for movement strategies that will optimize the chance of finding prey while minimizing the amount of energy expended.  We are using multi-sensor data-loggers (acceleration, swim speed, depth) and video cameras to understand these behaviors in oceanic whitetip sharks (Carcharhinus longimanus).  These sharks aggregate seasonally at Cat Island, Bahamas although the reasons for these aggregation are unknown.  Cat island is one of the few places in the world where oceanic whitetip sharks can be predictably found in large numbers.

Collaborators: Dr Demian Chapman (Stony brook University), Dr Yuuki Watanabe (Polar Research Institute, Japan), Lucy Howey (Microwave Telemetry, Inc.)

An oceanic whitetip being followed by a rainbow runner. Photo: Y. Papastamatiou

Multi-sensor data-logger package on the dorsal fin of an oceanic whitetip. Photo: Y.Papastamatiou