Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project
The Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project (SBERP) is an international research collaboration led by the Heithaus Lab with the goal of understanding the dynamics of one of the world’s most pristine seagrass ecosystems. In addition, SBERP strives to disseminate the results of the project to a wide audience through documentary films, the project website, curriculum and teacher resources for secondary schools. The lab’s work in Shark Bay provides the most detailed study of the ecological role of sharks in the world and has been used to affect positive policy changes in shark conservation.
Global FinPrint Project
Mike is the co-lead Principal Investigator of the Global FinPrint project. A Paul G. Allen initiative, it unites collaborators around the world to fill a critical information gap about the diminishing numbers of shark and rays on coral reefs. The multi-institutional team conducts surveys of marine life on coral reefs using baited remote underwater video (BRUV). The research will improve our understanding of how these species influence the ecosystems and how humans impact these species and their habitats. Ultimately, the consolidation of this research into a single analysis will aid management and conservation efforts for sharks and rays as well as coral reefs worldwide.
From Mo’orea to Tetiaroa, Mike and his team are trying to answer the question: Do healthy reefs need sharks? Using animal borne (or shark cams) and stationary cameras, the goal of the study is to investigate the feeding and behavior of a variety of reef sharks, especially blacktip reef and sicklefin lemon sharks, and their importance to the health of the reefs. The lab is exploring how emerging video technologies may offer a solution by providing inexpensive and non-invasive ways to survey sharks in remote, data-poor regions. Collaborators include the Seeley Family, the University of Washington, the Tetiaroa Society, and CRIOBE.