Shark Biology and Conservation Program

Shark researchers tag a whale shark off Sarasota, Fla., in the Gulf of Mexico on May 28, 2010. Photo by Kim Hull/Mote Marine Laboratory
Robert Hueter, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Program Manager
The Shark Biology and Conservation Program is dedicated to studying the biology, ecology and conservation of sharks and their relatives, the skates and rays. These fishes comprise about 1,000 species worldwide, many of which today are threatened by overfishing and environmental impacts. 

Through laboratory and field research, scientists study the abundance and movement patterns, population dynamics, behavior and health and fisheries biology of sharks and rays, and promote science-based conservation of depleted shark populations.

The Program has been a leader in advancing the causes of shark conservation worldwide since 1988, and today emphasizes tri-national initiatives related to shark conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean with scientific colleagues and policy makers in the U.S., Mexico and Cuba.

Following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010, the Program launched a new research study to assess the spillís impacts on sharks, rays and other large oceanic fishes in the Gulf.

Conservation efforts include support of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge and the Shark Free Marinas Initiative.

Current Projects
  • Studies of whale shark behavior and ecology in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
  • Satellite and conventional tagging studies of shark abundance, distribution and migration.
  • Shark biology and fisheries in Cuba and Mexico.
  • Development of multinational approaches to shark fisheries management and conservation.
  • Assessment of the impact of oil spills on the biology and health of sharks and other large epipelagic fishes.
  • Connecting science to the recreational fishing community to improve shark conservation.
  • Science-based linkages to public policy in marine conservation.

Shark Conservation, Outreach and Education
In addition to sharing information with the scientific community, Mote is also dedicated to enhancing public understanding and awareness of sharks and rays and their status in the wild through outreach to policy makers, educational institutions, the media and the general public.

To help raise awareness about the status of sharks in the wild, in 2010, Mote joined with other organizations to sponsor the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge. Mote supported this all-release shark fishing tournament, now in its third year, as an alternative to traditional catch and kill shark tournaments.

Mote staff tag a great hammerhead during the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark challenge. Photo by Hayley Rutger/Mote Marine Laboratory.
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Give our Shark Research More Teeth
As we examine the importance of sharks, skates and rays, we can't ignore the importance of your support of our research. The more support have, the more we can do.
Please click here to donate today.

About Us

Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages.

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