The ultimate goal of this project is to understand how Sphyrna tiburo (the bonnethead shark) is capable of acquiring nutrients from the digestion of seagrass, thereby causing one to re-evaluate the role that bonnetheads play in their environment. Using a combination of digestive biochemistry, stable isotope analyses, digestibility quantifications, bioenergetic models, and molecular techniques, this project could provide groundbreaking evidence of an omnivorous shark and will have important implications for shark conservation.
To ensure conservation policies are effective, data must be collected in a manner that is easily accessible and understandable. In this UCI OCEANS project, Zackory will ensure that the type of data, as well as the quality, quantity, and presentation of that data, will easily translate to policymakers responsible for shark conservation management plans.
Additional Project Fellows:
- Samantha Leigh, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology / Biological Sciences
- Lauryn Moles, Costume Design/ Arts