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Dogfish Abundance

To learn more about the environmental factors that may be influencing coral communities and to explore another facet of marine science, I participated in the competitive 12-week Summer Student Fellowship (SSF) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 2012.  
Internal Wave and Dogfish

 At WHOI, I had the opportunity to study the vertical and temporal distributions of Squalus acanthias (a shark, commonly referred to as ‘Dogfish’) from 2008 - 2012 with Dr. Jesús Pineda and Dr. Victoria Starczak. This study implemented both biological and physical oceanography methods. I created a technique for quantifying S. acanthias abundance and collected/analyzed conductivity, temperature, depth, fish position, and current data using CTD, echosounder, and ADCP instruments. Analysis of yearly abundance data indicated a decline in the S. acathias population, with no sharks observed in 2012. Due to the highly migratory nature of this species (compared to the sessile corals I usually study), I had to change the way I thought 

about this result. The disappearance of this shark species did not necessarily suggest that the organisms had died, as is the case with corals, but that its migratory pattern had shifted. Knowing that temperature can have an effect on the organisms within any habitat, I decided to compare S. acanthias abundance with water temperature data. Analysis of the four-year database indicated a significant negative correlation between S. acanthias abundance and water temperature. The only temperatures, however, that were correlated with S. acanthias abundance were below 25m. Therefore, satellite water surface temperature measurements would not be useful in predicting the presence or movement of this species. 


  1. Dogfish abundance was significantly correlated with temperature - In this study, the average measured abundances of sharks between 25 and 40 m water depth over the past 4 years were negatively correlated with the average measured water temperature at this depth range. 
  2. Created and Presented Poster - This project was articulated in a poster presentation at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography in 2013.
  3. Wrote a Report - As part of the program I wrote a report on my work that summer. Please feel free to view it!