SAND TIGER SHARKS RETURN TO SAME SHIPWRECKS OFF N.C. COAST
Photos taken months, and in some cases years, apart by scuba divers show female sand tiger sharks returning to the same shipwrecks off the North Carolina coast, a new study led by Duke Marine Lab visiting scholar Avery Paxton reveals. This display of “site fidelity” suggests the shipwrecks are important habitats for the globally vulnerable species. Undergrad Erica Blair and Brian Silliman served as co-authors. Read more>
ENDANGERED RAYS MAY HAVE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN BIRTHING ZONE
The discovery of dozens of pregnant giant devil rays accidentally caught in fishing nets along Mexico’s northern Gulf of California could mean the endangered species has a previously unknown birthing zone in nearby waters. PhD student Leo Gaskins, who authored the peer-reviewed paper, says authorities and local fishers should work together to devise a plan that minimizes the risk of negative interactions, if further research confirms the findings. Read more>
COMMENTARY: TIME TO RE-THINK THE USE OF FLAME RETARDANTS
Two of the world’s leading environmental chemists, Heather Stapleton and Jacob de Boer of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, suggest in a new peer-reviewed commentary in Science that it’s time to re-evaluate the necessity of halogenated flame retardant use in some products and replace them, whenever possible, with safer alternatives. “No one wants to compromise fire safety,” they write, “but to protect human and environmental health, it is crucial that the use of flame retardants is critically evaluated to determine where they are needed and where they are not.” Read more>
PAPER ILLUSTRATES VALUE OF ANIMAL TRACKING DATA
A new paper co-authored by Daniel Dunn, Pat Halpin and Connie Kot, associate in research for the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, is the featured review and cover article of the May issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution. The paper uses case studies from around the world to illustrate the value of marine animal tracking data to inform conservation policy and management, including reductions in fisheries bycatch and vessel strikes.