Have you ever found a strange-looking, leathery pocket washed up on the beach? It was probably the empty eggcase of a shark or skate. Recording where you have seen these eggcases helps Ali and her team learn about the animals that laid them.
With a BSc (Hons) in marine environmental science and an MSc in applied marine science, I have worked as an advocate for marine conservation for more than 20 years. I have been intrigued by the sea from a young age; as a child in Cyprus I could often be found sitting on the seabed (with a lap full of rocks to weigh me down), feeding an insatiable curiosity for life underwater. I later wound up in North Queensland, Australia, where as a teenager I worked in environmental tourism by crewing on a traditional boat that took the public and researchers...
My keen interest in nature and the environment developed when I was young, although living in central England, well away from the coast, meant that my curiosity about the underwater world took longer to emerge. It was learning to scuba-dive at the age of 14 that led me to fall in love with the ocean and appreciate its inhabitants. Faced with choosing a career, I jumped at the opportunity to study for a BSc in marine biology and coastal ecology and then an MSc in conservation biology with a view to working in the marine conservation sector. I had a...
Since 2003 the Great Eggcase Hunt, a Shark Trust initiative, has been engaging the public in hunting for spent shark, skate and ray eggcases that wash up along the UK coastline throughout the year. The project was borne from concern regarding the population status of egg-laying skates and rays.
The Great Eggcase Hunt not only raises awareness of the diversity of elasmobranchs in British waters, but also engages the public in the intrigues of the UK foreshore and the myriad of items they can discover.
In recent decades, the abundance of several species of skates and rays has dramatically declined around the British coast. The empty eggcases that wash up onto our beaches year-round are an easily accessible source of information on the whereabouts of skate and ray nursery grounds. The identification of these critical areas will enable the Shark Trust to propose conservation measures to reverse the decline of these charismatic animals.
Funding received from the Save Our Seas Foundation for the next phase of the Great Eggcase Hunt will build on a strong foundation of information and enthusiasm using the previous tenets: expand, improve and deliver.
Tanja is learning where the flapper skate moves along the last vestiges of its home range on the Scottish west coast and trying to understand how this affects its genetic diversity. To find out how its declining populations can survive, she is introducing the paternity test to the shark world and exploring whether mating partners, siblings or whole clans are commonly in the same area or if they can be found in different places.
Building a generation of critical thinkers and fostering a sense of connection are what Anshena’s work at the Cape Eleuthera Island School in The Bahamas is all about. By challenging children to seek out the answers to their questions themselves and enabling them to visit important marine ecosystems, Anshena is encouraging new advocates for the environment and empowering them to make changes in their world.
South Africa is home to an assortment of highly charismatic catshark species, 14 of which occur nowhere else in the world. These greedy little sharks are often caught as by-catch, which makes them very vulnerable. Lisa is enlisting the help of the local diving community to learn more about them and how to protect them.