Shark Research Around Nantucket

Inshore Shark Species Research

It has been another exciting summer of shark tagging around the island! Caroline Collatos, a shark biologist and Ph.D. student at the New England Aquarium, has continued her research by looking into inshore shark species’ presence, habitat use, and movements around our island. So far, she has been able to tag 43 sharks this summer (in addition to last summer). She tagged some of these sharks with acoustic transmitters that enable us to learn more about their habitat use and movements. Recently she tagged two sand tiger sharks, each measuring over 8 feet! We are hopeful to see what she learns after she can download her acoustic receivers. These receivers are currently out listening for tagged sharks around the island.

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The goal of Ms. Collatos’s research is to contribute to the knowledge of the Nantucket nearshore local shark populations and biodiversity, as well as better understand the potential role these apex predators play in the coastal marine ecosystem. The research is being conducted in collaboration with the New England Aquarium, the Nantucket Land & Water Council, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and uses acoustic telemetry to (1) investigate Sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus), Dusky sharks (C. obscurus), and Sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) use of Nantucket’s nearshore waters; and (2) gather additional information on shark and fish habitat use of the island in order to enhance our understanding of Nantucket’s nearshore biodiversity.

Ultimately, this research can help illustrate the marine ecological picture of nearshore Nantucket waters and the potential role the island plays for coastal fishes, especially for vulnerable species that rely on these habitats, like Sandbar sharks.

The Nantucket Land & Water Council is accepting donations on behalf of Ms. Collatos, and these respective donations will be used to purchase equipment for the project, such as moorings for acoustic receivers, acoustic tags, boat trips to deploy gear, and sampling materials.

To support her research, please make a donation today and note “shark research” in the special instructions box to ensure your donation goes towards Ms. Collatos’s work.  Thank you for your interest!

Watch Caroline’s lecture: Sandbar Sharks on Nantucket, Who are they, What are they up to, and Why do we care?  Part of NLC Clean Water: Topics on Tap webinar series.

For more information about Sandbar Shark research, please contact Caroline Collatos.  For any general NLC questions, please contact the Nantucket Land & Water Council.