Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean
School of Biological Sciences
University of Western Australia (UWA)
PhD title: Understanding the spatial distribution of mobile oceanic predators to improve Marine Protected Areas.
Shona received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation from the University of Bristol in the UK. She completed the research component for her Masters at the Marine Futures Lab by mining stereo-BRUVS footage to investigate the global distribution, abundance and environmental preferences of silky sharks Carcharhinus falciformis).
Pelagic sharks are heavily threatened but poorly understood which hinders their conservation. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are becoming increasingly popular as tools for spatially protecting ecosystems; however, it is still not understood what level of protection MPAs provide for mobile predators.
By using eDNA, stereo-BRUVS and remotely-sensed data, Shona will investigate the distribution, abundance and key habitats of mobile oceanic predators to better understand how MPAs can be improved. She will be collaborating with the Blue Belt Programme in the UK which aims to enhance the protection of over 4 million square kilometres in UK Oveaseas Territories.