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PhD Proposal Defense: Martin Benavides

January 29, 2018 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm

UNC Marine Sciences graduate student and Fodrie lab member, Martin BenavidesThe PhD Proposal Defense of Martin Benavides will be presented by the Department of Marine Sciences and the Institute of Marine Sciences. The main location of this event will be in room 222 at IMS in Morehead City, NC. The defense will be streamed live to room G201 on the ground floor of Murray Hall on UNC campus in Chapel Hill, NC. This event will be held on Monday, January 29th at 12:20 PM.

Title: Patterns of variability in coastal shark populations across multiple spatiotemporal scales

Abstract: The importance of understanding variability across a spectrum of spatiotemporal scales has been recognized by oceanographers as a fundamental issue in understanding ecosystem dynamics. The application of this concept to the study of pattern in marine organisms and their environment has expanded our understanding of the population dynamics of long-lived nekton across scales. Understanding how ecological processes affect dynamics across scales remains a challenge, however promising developments in collaboration, integration and technology have shown promise for meeting the challenge. Sharks are one group of long-lived species that experience their environment across a range of spatiotemporal scales, which influence their patterns of variability. This group has also emerged as an international conservation concern as population declines and their controls on ecosystem dynamics have become more apparent; thus, understanding patterns of variability across scales becomes critical to the management and conservation of sharks. This dissertation aims to elucidate variability of coastal shark populations across multiple spatiotemporal scales. In Chapter 1, I will exploit a 45-year time series database of fishery independent shark monitoring to gain unique insight into seasonality of the North Carolina coastal shark community, and potentially how seasonal patterns have changed over time. In Chapter 2, I will also use the long-term data set to investigate how within-species size structure has changed on annual, interannual and decadal timescales. In Chapter 3, I will employ acoustic telemetry to decipher bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo) movement and habitat use over multiple spatiotemporal scales. Finally, in Chapter 4 I will examine bonnethead shark detection probability from aerial drone surveys and how the ability to detect sharks is affected by environmental factors.

photo of a shark getting measured after being caught as part of the ongoing shark research survey at UNC's Institute of Marine Sciences


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