One of the most misunderstood questions in coral reef ecology - do you have healthy reefs need sharks? Building off of the 2015 Teacher in the Sea findings, the role of a student in the field of sonar and baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVS).
Understanding the predator-prey interactions between herbivores and sharks is crucial for coral reef conservation. In the absence of sharks, herbivorous fish may spread their grazing randomly across large patches of algae, leaving few well-defined or cleared areas for corals to settle.
Researchers will attempt to understand the impact of shark presence on herbivorous fish behavior and the indirect impact of sharks on algae communities. HD remote video combined with multi-beam imaging sonar will be used to quantify how fish behavior changes in the presence and absence of sharks. Herbivore grazing intensity will also be measured to understand the impact of shark presence.
Low frequency sound will be used to attract sharks around Aquarius. BRUVS will capture quantifiable data on the fish in the presence and absence of sharks. By combining these two technologies for the first time, the mission will provide a path forward for future ecological research, offering insights that can lead to critical marine conservation outcomes. Data collected will also be used as part of the Global FinPrint Project.