Stony Brook University Provost's Graduate Student Lecture Series
October 3, 2012
Stony Brook, NY
Mark Bond: “Surprise on the Barrier Reef: What Happens When You Protect Sharks?”
Sharks and rays are in decline all over the world, largely because of commercial fishing and the destruction of their habitat from human development and pollution. One way to try and protect them is to establish marine reserves, areas of the ocean where human activities are limited. These reserves are like the underwater version of national parks, except that they aim to protect marine life, instead of bears and wolves. In the sea, however, there are no fences or natural physical barriers to keep animals safely within the protected areas while keeping humans out. So do marine reserves work for highly mobile fish like sharks? And if they do help protect sharks, the top predators on coral reefs, what impact will that have on fish that are their prey, such as their cousins, the similarly threatened rays? We’ll look at how these life-and-death questions play out in Belize, along the world’s second largest barrier reef.