Conservation Lecture Series

Thursday, September 12, 2013 -- 7 p.m. 

 FSUCML Auditorium


Fishing effort for deep-water sharks, both targeted and incidental, has been increasing worldwide over the last few decades despite a lack of biological information for most of these rare species.


  Providing life history data for these deep-sea predators is crucial for fisheries management and for advancing the overall understanding of deep-sea ecosystems.  Most commonly encountered shark species can be aged by examining calcified growth bands within the vertebral centra, much like growth rings in tree trunks.  Since vertebral cartilage is generally uncalcified in deep-water sharks, the dorsal finspine presents an alternate structure that can be used to determine age for some of these species.  Reproductive output (e.g. fecundity, seasonality, ovarian cycle) is an equally important component of shark life history, yet this information remains largely unknown for most deep-water shark species.  


Recent deep-sea expeditions and long-term studies, such as the Deep-C Consortium, have afforded researchers rare opportunities to study these rare deep-water species in great detail.  Results of these life history studies (specifically age, growth and reproduction) have confirmed that many of these species are among the slowest growing of all vertebrates, characterized by late maturity, low fecundity, high longevity and slow growth.

With such conservative life histories, these species are not resilient to extensive harvest and are therefore prone to over-exploitation and localized depletion in those areas where they are harvested.

Bio: Dr. Chip Cotton 
FSUCML Research Faculty
     As an undergraduate in Applied Biology at Georgia Tech, Dr. Cotton developed an intense interest in marine ecology while conducting an independent research project on Sapelo Island, Georgia.
    After earning his B. Sc. degree, he returned to  Sapelo Island to work as a research technician, studying the spawning behavior and biology of several species of drum fishes found in Georgia's estuaries.  Later, as a Master's student in the University of Georgia's Department of Marine Science, Dr. Cotton worked cooperatively with commercial fishermen to develop culture techniques for black sea-bass and several species of mollusks.  
    Taking a departure from aqua-culture, Dr. Cotton enrolled in the doctoral program at William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science to study life history of deep-water sharks.   After completing a postdoctoral position at Savannah State University, Dr. Cotton became a faculty member at the FSU Coastal and Marine Lab where continues his studies of fishes.  

Join us
after the talks for the opportunity to chat one-on-one with the speaker. If you have any questions, please email us at or call the main number 850 697 4120. 

Help Solve the Hunger Crisis

Bring non-perishable food to the lecture that we can pass on to the Second Harvest of the Big Bend to help the people in our community.

   Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory
   3618 Coastal Highway 98, St. Teresa, FL  32358
   Director:  Dr.  Felicia C. Coleman
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