I have field experience in Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, South Africa, and a bit closer to home in the Isle of Man. Though I have worked with several marine species including coral, reef fish, turtles, and cetaceans it took me until 2010 to work directly with sharks in the Isle of Man on basking sharks. From there I moved to Mozambique to work on whale sharks with the Marine Megafauna Foundation where I have been working since 2011. Here I developed my PhD with Dr Simon Pierce before enrolling at Southampton to incorporate biochemical analysis into the ecological questions surrounding whale sharks.
I will be examining the movement patterns and feeding ecology of whale sharks using data from stable isotope analysis and fatty acid analysis of tissue samples, and electronic tagging. My main field sites are in southern Mozambique, and Mafia Island, Tanzania. I also intend to collaborate with researchers based at whale shark aggregation sites in Saudi, Qatar, Philippines, Galapagos, and St Helena. I hope to get a global view of whale shark diet and movement patterns, and any sexual and ontogenetic differences in behaviour especially the behaviour of the mature females.
Rohner CA, Couturier LIE, Richardson AJ, Pierce SJ, Prebble C, Gibbons MJ & PD Nichols (2013) Diet of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, inferred from stomach content and signature fatty acid analyses. Marine Ecology Progress Series. v493, p219-235.