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Ocean Health

Shark Conservation in Belize

How can we keep shark populations strong? Find answers while exploring some of the world’s most beautiful reefs.


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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Because sharks breed more slowly—more like mammals—than other fish, their populations have a slim chance of recovering from major losses.

Belize’s barrier reef was once a haven for sharks. Your work can help make it a haven once again.

To protect sharks and their habitat, we need to know where they spend their time. This study is the first of its kind—while we have evidence that sharks do better in marine reserves, we have no idea how long a decimated population will take to recover in a brand-new reserve. That’s one of the insights that will come out of this research. The scientists are also looking for insight into how well Belize's marine reserves foster sharks, so you'll help implant transmitters in sharks to track where they go. Essentially, researchers will know marine reserves are working if sharks spend more time inside their borders than outside.

If you join the team in 2015, you’ll help the Belizean government monitor local shark fishing. The Department of Fisheries requires fishermen to submit a fin sample of every single shark they catch, which your team will then analyze to find out what species the sample came from. By tracking exactly how many of what species have been caught, you’ll give the government the data they need to best manage and protect shark populations.

Help determine exactly how and why marine reserves strengthen shark populations.

A Caribbean reef shark.

This expedition gives you a chance to make an impact today and tomorrow. You will influence policies that directly affect the sharks swimming in the ocean right now. You’ll also help with the long-term project of explaining the integral role that sharks play in their ecosystems, which is something we still don’t know much about.

About the research area

South Water Caye or Glover’s Reef, Belize, Central America & The Caribbean

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

This is a summary:

The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Demian
Chapman
Assistant Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Stony Brook University

ABOUT Demian Chapman

Dr. Chapman is an internationally recognized shark expert and has published papers on shark genetics, virgin births, the shark fin trade, and shark tracking, among other topics.

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MEET THE OTHER SCIENTISTS

Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food

Reviews

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