Mālama Manō: Studying Hawaiʻi’s Sharks

For two weeks in September 2022, a team of scientists, conservationists, and educators part of Ocean Exploration Trust’s From Shore to the Abyss partnership with the National Geographic Society conducted research on sharks around Maui and the island of Hawaiʻi using low-impact and non-invasive research techniques. Led by Ariana Santos Agustines, team members aboard E/V Nautilus combined reef surveys, baited remote underwater system (BRUV) deployments, and environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis to add information to the global community’s knowledge of the diversity and abundance of shark species around the Hawaiian Islands.

On shore, Dr. Sara Khalid is continuing to lead more team members in the expansion of the SharkPulse artificial intelligence program contributing to a repository of shark images and continually training the algorithm for more accurate identification on a species level. In an effort to promote open science and integrate indigenous knowledge and research practices, this project has included creating multidisciplinary educational resources and outreach products that advance shark conservation by integrating traditional knowledge, scientific tools, and technology.