Repelling sharks to save them…and us! – March 22nd, 2018

Ryan Kempster, University of Western Australia
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - March 22nd, 2018

Hosted by the Environmental Biotechnology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Ryan is a researcher and co-founder of the shark conservation group Support Our Sharks. Ryan began his research career with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Marine Biology at Bangor University in the United Kingdom.  After completing his studies, Ryan travelled the world and was fortunate enough to gain experience working for a number of marine conservation organizations. He worked on a range of projects, including restoring mangrove forests in Thailand, surveying coral reefs in The Bahamas, monitoring fish populations in Fiji, and protecting sea turtle nests in Costa Rica. Despite having the opportunity to get up-close and personal with a diverse range of marine life, Ryan was always drawn to sharks.  In 2010, Ryan took his passion to the next level by completing a doctorate degree at the University of Western Australia, investigating the sensory biology of sharks.  His research in Australia focused on the sensory biology of sharks with the ultimate goal of refining and improving shark repellent devices to protect ocean users and reduce shark bycatch in commercial fisheries. 

Repelling sharks to save them...and us!

A detailed knowledge of the sensory biology of sharks is essential for understanding the way in which they interpret the world around them.  By understanding a shark’s senses, we may be able to develop non-lethal methods to manipulate their behavior and discourage negative interactions with humans.  Until recently, much of our understanding of the sensory biology of sharks was derived from early attempts by the US Navy to develop shark repellents to protect servicemen.  Although shark repellents have traditionally been used to reduce the risk of negative interactions with humans, they may also play an important role in reducing fisheries’ bycatch and, ultimately, in the protection of these ecologically and economically important species. Shark Biologist Dr. Ryan Kempster will reveal the history of shark repellent technologies and the latest insights from his own global research projects in the field. 

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