By Aaron Wirsing
This past August, I once again joined colleagues from Florida International University and the Tetiaroa Society to learn more about the ecology of reef sharks in Tetiaroa, a remote French Polynesian atoll. Specifically, along with FIU biologists Kirk Gastrich and Jimmy Kilfoil, I deployed baited remote underwater video cameras, or BRUVs, to monitor the presence and behavior of blacktip reef (Carcharhinus melanopterus) and sicklefin lemon (Negaprion acutidens) sharks throughout Tetiaroa's inner lagoon. Some of our BRUVs detected lots of shark activity (e.g., see the video posted below of a blacktip investigating one of our baits). Ultimately, we'll use the data we collected over two weeks to model when and where these shark species are active in the lagoon. In future years, we hope to expand our BRUV work to Tetiaroa's outer reef, where the ocean is much deeper and we might detect more and larger shark species. For now, we thank the Seeley family for their generous support of our research in Tetiaroa and encourage you to stay tuned for more findings!