Location

Diamond 122

Start Date

1-5-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 4:00 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

Sharks are important predators in marine ecosystems, and recently, there has been a documented loss in abundance of these animals across the globe. Although the trends are clear, there has been no study of their decline in New England. The goal of this project was to explore the historical abundances of sharks in New England, including any declines over a century. I used historical documents concerning fisheries to catalog incidental sightings and captures of sharks, which then allowed me to determine how species abundance changed over a period from 1820-1920. Ten species of large sharks were present in New England during this time period. Their abundances and distribution varied throughout New England, with a the highest abundance and diversity in Massachusetts. Over this time period, there appeared to be a slight decline in the abundance of these species. These results allow for a picture of historical New England ecosystems to begin to be formed, which is crucial for setting conservation goals.

Faculty Sponsor

Russ Cole

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Environmental Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

45

Share

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May 1st, 1:00 PM May 1st, 4:00 PM

The Historical Ecology of Sharks in New England

Diamond 122

Sharks are important predators in marine ecosystems, and recently, there has been a documented loss in abundance of these animals across the globe. Although the trends are clear, there has been no study of their decline in New England. The goal of this project was to explore the historical abundances of sharks in New England, including any declines over a century. I used historical documents concerning fisheries to catalog incidental sightings and captures of sharks, which then allowed me to determine how species abundance changed over a period from 1820-1920. Ten species of large sharks were present in New England during this time period. Their abundances and distribution varied throughout New England, with a the highest abundance and diversity in Massachusetts. Over this time period, there appeared to be a slight decline in the abundance of these species. These results allow for a picture of historical New England ecosystems to begin to be formed, which is crucial for setting conservation goals.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/159