Vertebral Chemistry of Sharks

Characterizing long-distance migrations by large pelagic sharks typically involves conventional or electronic tagging that requires capturing and handling individuals, high expense, and low reporting rates. Natural tracers, such as trace elements contained in chronologically formed band pairs of shark vertebrae, may increase our understanding of individual migration patterns and population connectivity. This research investigates elemental patterns in age-validated vertebrae of several shark species with known tagging and recapture locations. Elemental patterns across growth bands reveal age and environmental exposure histories and provide valuable information on shark life history.

Wells Shark Biology and Fisheries Lab // Texas A&M University // Department of Marine Biology // 1001 Texas Clipper Rd. // Galveston, TX 77553