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Third Annual Barcode of Life Conference

DNA Barcoding of Sharks: Two Case Study Applications in Belize and Madagascar
Beginning at 9-9:20am
November 12, 2009
Mexico City
Presentation at this event.

Read the abstract
View the conference program

DNA barcoding can provide a quick and reliable method to characterize the species composition of ecosystems and markets, and shed light on the level of exploitation of species including sharks. By gaining information on the species of sharks being exploited for their fins, for example, scientists can help to influence rules regarding harvest, management, and trade regulation. On Thursday, during this four-day conference in Mexico City, Drs. Phaedra Doukakis and Demian Chapman of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University will give a plenary discussion about how they are using DNA barcoding to improve understanding and management of sharks in two regions: northeastern Madagascar, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (MABR) in Belize.

Sharks are exploited globally to support a lucrative international trade in their fins, which are used to make shark fin soup. Shark populations are among the most vulnerable marine animals to overfishing, and have collapsed in many parts of the world.

Although trained observers can sometimes identify a shark's species of origin by looking at an individual fin, such observers are often not available. In addition, fishers may be unable to provide entire fins for inspection. Resources and expertise to monitor shark fisheries are especially lacking in developing nations. Genetic data can provide an accurate identification that overcomes these barriers, and can also be used to detect any new or cryptic species.

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