Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Moorea Reef Sharks!

November 5, 2013

Its been a busy few days for Jeremy and Johann!  The stationary cameras have been deployed several times on the forereef. The cameras have recorded an impressive number of species including blacktip reef sharks and lemon sharks, hawksbill turtles, large predatory fishes (trevallies, groupers, emperor beams and some large pelagics too), and tons of smaller fish. A couple days ago, Jeremy and Johann had the chance to listen to amazing humpback whale songs when they were retrieving the cameras! Two males were singing about a kilometer away!

This week, the team started collecting samples from many fish species.  These will help us use chemical markers - stable isotopes - to better understand the feeding ecology of blacktip and sicklefin lemon sharks around Moorea.

Another major accomplishment this week was establishing sampling areas (transects) along the barrier reef that we will fly with the quadcopter to measure the distribution and densities of reef sharks and rays in shallow water habitats.  The first round of flights has already been completed!

Finally, two nights of net fishing resulted in collecting samples from four newborn blacktip reef sharks. Pup numbers are still low, but there should be many more births in the coming days!

In the upcoming weeks, Jeremy and Johann will continue working on all of these projects and try to deploy the shark-cam on adult blacktips!
The net is set in a nursery area for blacktip reef sharks.

Johann with a newborn shark.

Jeremy releases a baby shark after sampling.

A sickelfin lemon shark swims right in front of a stationary camera.

The quadcopter coming back to the boat.

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