Gill Guardians: An Elasmobranch Conservation and Education Hub

  • Sharks
Years funded
  • 2021, 2022, 2023
  • Archived
Project types
  • Conservation
  • Education
  • Minorities in Shark Sciences

Jasmin and her team create content to teach the general public about elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays), the threats they face and current conservation efforts to protect them. Gill Guardians is a freely available online hub that connects people globally to engage with elasmobranch science and conservation. They offer video lessons, activities and quizzes. They also host live virtual seminars to bridge the gap between scientists and the public, and grow a new generation of conservation-minded shark advocates.

Gill Guardians: An Elasmobranch Conservation and Education Hub

Jasmin Graham

Project leader
About the project leader

Elasmobranch ecology and evolution is my special field of interest, with past research topics including the movement ecology of the smalltooth sawfish and the phylogeny of hammerhead sharks. I’m a member of the American Elasmobranch Society and served on its Student Affairs Committee for two years. I have completed internships with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Fort Johnson Marine Lab and FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management, and worked as an instructor for the Saturday at the Sea programme through the Florida State University Office of STEM Teaching Activities. Science education and making science more accessible for...

Project details

Gill Guardians: An Elasmobranch Conservation and Education Hub

Key objective

The key objective of this project is to increase scientific literacy and engage stakeholders in elasmobranch conservation so that they can be allies in the fight to protect the world’s oceans and their inhabitants.

Why is this important

As environmental pressures, many of which are driven by humans, continue to increase, we are seeing declines in many elasmobranch species. By raising awareness about these declines and cultivating a scientifically literate society, we hope to create a societal shift that will push for increased protection for threatened species. Providing the public with accessible and up-to-date scientific information can help them stay well informed and bridge the gap between scientists, policy-makers and the public.


For this project we will be creating an online educational resource for the general public that will synthesise current research in the field of elasmobranch conservation. The site will feature self-guided courses and lessons for people to learn about the many endangered elasmobranch species. It will contain video lectures, activities, videos from the field, infographics and articles. Visitors to the site will have an opportunity to learn more about marine policy as it relates to endangered elasmobranchs and will be provided with information about basic biology, a history of elasmobranch conservation and tips for identifying species. The site will also create a space for accessible communication of the latest elasmobranch conservation research. It will not only have materials for adults, but will also feature age-appropriate conservation lessons. In addition to the site, I will create materials and activities that will facilitate engaging with the public at events.

Aims & objectives

The general aim is to create educational resources that allow the general public to engage with conservation science and marine policy in an accessible and synthesised manner. We will accomplish this by focusing on five main objectives:

  • to create online courses and stand-alone lessons to educate the public about elasmobranch conservation;
  • to travel out into the field with various researchers to create videos that enable the public to see research efforts at first hand;
  • to create activities and games for all ages to illustrate threats that face elasmobranchs and show how policy measures can mitigate these threats;
  • to engage with the public at events and festivals using activities, models and infographics to illustrate the importance of elasmobranch conservation;
  • to provide resources to teachers and other educators to bring elasmobranch conservation into their curriculum.


Summary of main research results/outcomes
In total we have 404 users on our Gill Guardians online portal. On average participants scores increased more than 20% between the pre- and post- quizzes, which demonstrates an increase in knowledge about sharks and understanding of shark conservation issues. We hosted outreach booths at 25 community events with an estimated reach of 1200 people. We also hosted 17 public outreach events serving about 200 people directly, the majority of whom were minority youth. We also hosted 2 summer camps and a spring break camps serving 42 middle and high school students. Participation in these camps led to an overall increase in both science identity and sense of belonging in science.
Through the Gill Guardians Ambassador program we were able to get the Gill Guardians curriculum to an additional 83 students. These students showed on average a 30% growth in their understanding of sharks and marine conservation.

Link to the online courses: