The SIO has been recognized as one of the world’s last unexplored regions. Because of its remoteness, its depths have only recently been accessible, due to the commercial development of deep-sea fisheries in this area. There is virtually nothing known about the fauna and ecology of these seamounts or their population structure, community dynamics, and trophic interactions.
Sharks are keystone predators, controlling fauna populations and their overexploitation could greatly affect the vulnerable and unique ecosystems of SIO deep-sea seamounts.
Two very successful expeditions in the SIO have uncovered a dozen new species of sharks and valuable data on rare and poorly-known species. Continued exploration is necessary for the development of proper management and protection of the area.
The goal of this project is to once again work with a complex network of collaborators to continue collecting specimens and data and promote shark science in the SIO. We know there are still a lot of new and rare sharks out there that need our protection.
Specimens, data and footage will be made available to the scientific community and the general public by: donation of specimens to museums, publication of information in scientific journals, video documentaries, and outreach talks to the general public. We realize the best way protect our oceans is to get the public excited and involved and we are actively work with all ages through internships, and online and outreach events.