Understanding Leopard Shark Deaths in SF Bay

October 5 2017

Expedition Video

Leopard Sharks have seen a surge of deaths in San Francisco Bay, possibly linked to a pathogen. We're going to use our tools to help gather data.

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October 5 2017

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Preparation Stage

There's already an iNaturalist group that's been created to document citizen science observations. We'll be contributing there, too, and adding underwater images from the OpenROV Trident.


https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/leopard-shark-and-bat-ray-die-off

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There was a report about this issue in Bay Nature a few months ago. All of the reports I've read have mentioned the lack of resources available to study the issue. In Bay Nature:


"The problem, though, has been in figuring out exactly where and when the die-offs were happening, the necessary first step to figuring out why they were happening. “No one’s looking at it consistently,” Okihiro said. “It’s not like we could plot out, there were 2,000 leopard sharks that died in 2011 versus 250 in 2012. There is no one with the job of tabulating leopard shark and bat ray death. We’re doing this all on the fly, on a shoestring.”

Expedition Background

From the NBC News Story:


"As many as 2,000 leopard sharks have mysteriously died in the San Francisco Bay over the past few months. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says determining the cause is not a priority for the state since the sharks are not threatened or endangered, however, scientists say additional research and resources are crucial since the threat is now believed to be preying on other marine life."

We're going to use the OpenROV Trident to engage citizen scientists in collecting more data about how many sharks are affected.

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