Assessing the population dynamics of thresher sharks on Monad Shoal, the Philippines.

Internship position (12 ECTS)
Background: Monad Shoal is a seamount rising 250 m from the sea floor in the Visayan Sea (N 11° 19’ 06.7”, E 124° 11’ 31.9”), eight kilometers due east from Malapascua Island, Cebu, in the Philippines. The top of the mount forms a plateau at 15 to 25 m depth, with a surface area of 4.5 km2. The low profile Acropora coral community is now degraded and dominated by rubble, caused by decades of SCUBA divers trampling the reef. Recreational divers visit the seamount to observe thresher sharks and manta rays on most days, and dive tourism generates important income for the region. Five cleaning stations have been identified approximately 100 m apart on the southeast section of the plateau. Rationale: Pelagic thresher sharks are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ (IUCN) Red List. The IUCN describes a species listed as vulnerable as “facing a high risk of extinction in the wild”. Understanding the population dynamics of these illusive and vulnerable animals will provide important information to aid TSRCP’s initiatives to conserve and protect them. Aim: To undertake work that will contribute to the effective conservation and management of pelagic thresher sharks on Monad Shoal. Objectives: To assess the population dynamics of thresher sharks on Monad Shoal by assimilating census data on the distribution and abundance of juvenile, transitional, and adult male, and female sharks for population size estimate indices.
GUE Fundamentals certified, keen interest in shark science and conservation, self motivated and independently driven.
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The Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project
Reference Number: RP-48481