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Dr Simon J. Pierce

Michael Scholl has done some great, innovative work in his capacity as the biologist and founder of the White Shark Trust based in Gansbaai, South Africa.

This has included extensive field research and photographic work on the inshore habitat use of white sharks. Michael documented the sharks’ use of shallow waters away from their ‘usual’ residences around marine mammal colonies further offshore, and his work on this phenomena has helped to uncover a level of social interaction and complexity of population structure that had not been previously recognised in white sharks.

The results of Michael’s ongoing photographic identification program for white sharks also have the potential to answer vital questions on population demography and movement patterns in South African white sharks. In particular, I would point to the contribution that Michael’s photo-ID work made to the first record of return trans-continental migration between Africa and Australia in a female white shark. The results of that collaborative study were published in Science, one of the most highly-esteemed scientific journals in the world, and received extensive worldwide media attention. Michael’s book, ‘South Africa’s Great White Shark, co-authored with Thomas Peschak has also been am interesting and useful contribution to the literature on white sharks.

I can certainly endorse his work in the scientific field, and look forward to seeing many more results in the future that continue to shake-up our previously held notions on these sharks, one of the most impressive yet enigmatic predators in the world’s oceans.

Dr Simon J. Pierce | Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation | Wildlife Photographer & Writer at Nature Tripper Magazine

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