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Briefly can you describe the focus of your research and the species you work on?

My research is based on the integration of a range of fisheries-dependent (fish market surveys, fishermen interviews) and fisheries-independent (longline surveys, Baited Remote Underwater Video Surveys) methodologies to assess the population status of elasmobranch species in the Red Sea. In particular I am focusing on grey reef, silky, scalloped hammerhead, milk, spottail and blacktip sharks.

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In your opinion, how can people help save sharks?

There are many ways non-shark scientists can help to save sharks, e.g.:

By creating awareness: learn about sharks and spread your knowledge, speak out and defend sharks, blog or write about sharks.

By making informed consumer choices: know that shark is often relabelled as other fish, e.g. rock salmon. Know what you are buying!

By not consuming or buying any shark products, e.g. meat, leather, fins etc.

By boycotting media outlets that demonize sharks.

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How did you get involved in shark research and what advice would you give those interested in studying them?

Two years into my undergraduate studies in Marine Science I got the opportunity to conduct the fieldwork for my thesis at the Bimini Biological Field Station (BBFS) in The Bahamas. During that time I developed a deep interest in anything related to sharks and haven’t stopped studying them since.

Most people imagine the every day life of shark researchers to be a thrilling and exciting experience. For sure there will be moments of high adventure throughout your career, but for the most part shark research is like any other job and requires immense dedication and hard work. Begging for funding, writing reports, obtaining permits and tedious data processing is not as fun as observing sharks in the wild or discovering new species. But if you are aware of these things and think you can handle them in return for a few weeks of studying sharks in the field or lab every year, then you should definitely follow your dream!

 

Please provide links to any of your research you would like to showcase.

Research Gate: Dr Julia Spaet