Current Research Project – Bull Shark Sociality


Exploration the structure and function of social interactions in a wild bull shark community. Social behaviour and grouping has both benefits and risks all which have potential ecological and evolutionary implications.


Personality, also called behavioural syndromes or behavioural phenotype is an important concept in behavioural ecology. A sharks' personality affects many aspects of its life such as resource acquisition, reproduction and survival.


Assessing dominance within a wild bull shark community. Investigating drivers of rank and the temporal stability of rank positions.A sharks' position in the hierarchy will impact every aspect of their lives from resource acquisition to reproduction.

Building the Bull Shark Family Tree

Our resident scientist Natasha D. Marosi is exploring kinship in the visiting population of Bull Sharks as part of her PhD research with the University of Exeter.  

Tissue samples are obtained by speargun extraction using a custom biopsy probe. All work is done underwater using the most minimally invasive techniques to avoid unnecessary trauma to the sharks.

DNA analysis is conducted in an offshore Laboratory to determine kinship: maternity, paternity full and half-sibling pairs and will be the subject of a forthcoming scientific publication.  

New Project!
Genetic and Taxonomic Description of Fiji's Maskray

Spearheaded by Dr. Kerstin Glaus of the University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus, Suva. Fiji.

In Fiji the maskray is the most frequently landed ray in the country’s small scale fishery (Glaus, K., 2023).  As with other stingrays, it is also likely to be vulnerable to habitat degradation (Jabado et. al 2018), but information on the species’ ecology, life history and genetic population structure are lacking.  

 Its distribution remains unresolved due to taxonomic uncertainty (Dulvy, 2021). Indeed, the maskray in Fiji is genetically separate from other species of maskrays in the region, likely depicting a cryptic species or even one previously unknown to science. To confirm the in-country identification, additional research is needed, including further corroborating genetic evidence, clear assessments of morphological and morphometric characteristics, as well as the acquisition of intact specimens. Therefore, assessing ray fauna in the South Pacific Islands is vital for understanding marine biodiversity


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