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O'Seas Conservation Foundation is involved with projects all over the world.  Below you will see brief overviews from several of our exciting projects.  Should you be interested in the work, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to discuss these projects in further detail.

Present Projects

The Utilization of Satellite Tagging Systems to Assess the Long-Term Movements of the Endangered Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Location:  Montauk, New York
Since 2016, our team has been working offshore to study several pelagic shark species.  After applying numerous tags to neonate and juvenile shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus), we will be continuing our efforts through the use of satellite tagging 
technologies to effectively determine the spatial habitat use of this endangered shark species.  Please inquire for more details.  
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The Use of Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS) to Noninvasively Characterize a Previously Described White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) Nursery Area off Eastern Long Island, New York
Location:  Montauk, New York
Understanding if a discrete region fits three key criteria for shark nursery area designation is of upmost importance. Such a designation within United States territorial waters could result in the implementation of an essential fish habitat (EFH) classification, a region facilitating species protection.  In this study, baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) were used to determine if they could effectively identify a previously identified white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) nursery area south of Montauk, New York, USA.  During experimentation, 1,348.32 hours of video data were collected between Region A (Sound Side; 674.16 hours), outside of the identified nursery area, and Region B (Atlantic Ocean Side; 674.16 hours), within the identified nursery area. From the video data, 35 sightings of C. carcharias were recorded, with 31 unique individuals identified.  Please inquire for further study details.
The Use of Non-Invasive Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS) to Characterize the Shark Species Living in the Waters Surrounding Montauk, New York
Location:  Montauk, New York
We commenced this work in 2013 and have collected over 3000 hours of BRUVS footage.  Surveying from May 1-November 1 each year, we have collected a detailed record of the various shark species that live in our waters.  In combination with this presence/absence data, we also are linking our observations to a variety of variables (e.g. temperature, moon phase, tide, bait presence) to determine what may be dictating the arrival and departure of several of our focal shark species.  The exciting thing about this work is that it is non-invasive and is proving more effective than invasive longline techniques!  


The Implementation of Short-Term Deployment Longlines to Characterize the Shark Fauna of Southern Long Island, New York
Location:  Montauk, New York
Since 2013, we have been regularly deploying 25-hook longlines at least once per week to characterize, measure, and tag a variety of shark species off of Southern Long Island, New York.  Our method is slightly different as we only let the lines soak for a total duration of 45 minutes, as we do not want to cause any shark mortality due to stress associated capture.  Through this study, we have tagged well over 50 large sharks (dusky, sandbar, common thresher, blue, and white sharks) and will aim to continue this work as a means to understand how shark density and diversity may change with time within our region.  All of this work will be greatly influential for future conservation efforts.  


The Utilization of Bi-Directional FinCams to Study the Fine-Scale Movements and Behavioral Patterns of Common Thresher, White, and Dusky Sharks within the New York Bight
Location:  Montauk, New York
Started in 2017, this study aims to uncover unique behavioral characteristics in combination with the fine-scale movement patterns of various shark species within the New York Bight.  This study is an ambitious one, but may prove vitally important in shedding light as to why these sharks utilize this region during several months each year.  The findings from this study will be used to implement further conservation measures to ensure the survival of each species.
The Utilization of the Newly Designed Shark Harness to Determine the Importance of the Smooth Dogfish Shark to the New York Bight
Location:  Woods Hole, Massachusetts and Montauk, New York
Dr. O'Connell invented the Shark Harness, a new FinCam design that can be effectively placed on smaller shark species.  This study commenced in 2017 at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole and is an on-going field analysis in Montauk, NY.  This work is being conducted to assess if the smooth dogfish shark if a valuable food source within the New York Bight.  Such a finding would be relevant as this is an unregulated species (e.g. no catch limits) in both commercial and recreational fisheries and there is no current stock status for this species.  Should it be declining and prove a valuable food source to a variety of large sharks, future catch regulations may prove vital to species conservation. 


The Influence of Kelp Density on White Shark Presence within the Dyer Island Nature Reserve, South Africa
Location:  Gansbaai, South Africa
This BRUVS-based study was conducted in Gansbaai, South Africa and aimed to assess how or if sea bamboo (a kelp species) may influence the presence or absence of large white sharks. With increased abalone poaching in the region, which is contributing to rapid increases in kelp density around the Dyer Island Nature Reserve, this study is important because a continued trend in anthropogenic disturbances in the region may yield dramatic shifts in predator-prey dynamics.  


The Utilization of Prey-Simulating Electrodes to Analyze the Predatory Tactics of the Great Hammerhead Shark
Location:  Bimini, Bahamas


This study was an exciting study that used "robotic" stingrays to analyze the foraging behavior of the great hammerhead shark.  Pairing the findings from the robotic rays with a natural predation observed within Bimini's shallow flats, this study discovered a new foraging technique that helps maximize predatory success and prey maneuverability!  


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