New study shows effects of shark tourism on behavior

A new study by five University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science researchers has been published in the journal Functional Ecology entitled, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds: Assessing ecological impacts of provisioning ecotourism on an apex marine predator”. The team used satellite tags to track the movements of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) from Tiger Beech, Bahamas, and Florida. It was hypothesized that those from Tiger Beach would stay fixed around the locale due to the availability of food from shark diving operators’ bait, whilst those from Florida would be more mobile due to feeding being illegal.

The results actually show that the Bahamian sharks were more mobile, suggesting that the expected behavioral modification due to feeding does not occur.