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Research interests

Sharks are a common bycatch species worldwide with uncertain catch estimates due to species identification and amalgamation. In the Northern Territory (NT), two species of shark (Carcharhinus coatesi and Rhizoprionodon acutus) are caught in large numbers as bycatch by offshore trawl fisheries. These sharks are classed as data deficient (DD) by the IUCN Red List with important biological and ecological data missing, which are key to establishing management scenarios. To address the need of biological information, individuals of C. coatesi and R. acutus were collected by commercial fisheries between May 2018 and November 2019 in the NT. A permit was obtained for the fishermen to retain deceased specimens for scientific research. My PhD aims to collect basic biology and ecology data for the two shark species to support future fisheries management. The specific objectives of this study are to: (i) describe age structure and growth rates for C. coatesi and R. acutus(ii) determine the reproductive biology, sex ratio, fecundity and age at first maturity: (iii) determine population connectivity and spatial structure in Northern Territory waters; and, (iv) investigate temporal and spatial relationships between parasite assemblages and shark diets to assess the utility of parasites as a tool for assessing stock structure of elasmobranchs.

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