Related Research

Leopard sharks are an essential part of our local ecology in La Jolla, which is why we're dedicated to studying them. Knowledge generated through research has important implications for conservation efforts. Learn more about Dr. Andrew Nosal our DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow in Ecology and Conservation, and his research below.

Next Steps: Aerial Surveys

La Jolla Shores Research Balloon
Dates will vary.

Look to the skies above La Jolla Shores on a clear, calm, summer day and you may see a 7-foot-wide research balloon hovering in the air. Andy Nosal, Birch Aquarium's DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow in Ecology and Conservation, and his science team are conducting aerial surveys of the local leopard shark population, which congregates in La Jolla every summer and plays a key role in the local ecology. Knowledge generated through Andy's research has important implications for local conservation efforts.

About Dr. Andy Nosal

Andy Nosal, Ph.D., is Birch Aquarium's DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow in Ecology & Conservation. A marine biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Andy will spend the next three years working with Birch Aquarium and sharing his scientific discoveries with aquarium visitors. He specializes in shark ecology, with a particular focus on La Jolla's population of leopard sharks. Knowledge generated through Andy's research has important implications for local conservation efforts. His fellowship at Birch Aquarium is named in honor of the late David DeLaCour, a shark enthusiast who left a transformational gift to the aquarium upon his death in 2010.

Degrees:
Ph.D. in Marine Biology (2013)
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California - San Diego

B.S. in Biology with Specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation (2007)
University of Virginia

Ongoing Studies:
Social and non-social forces governing aggregation behavior in the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata).
Collaborators: P. Hastings (SIO, UCSD), I. Couzin (Princeton)

Mechanisms enabling navigation and homing in the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata). Collaborators: P. Hastings (SIO, UCSD)

Circadian rhythms and biological clocks in the swell shark (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum) and horn shark (Heterodontus francisci). Collaborators: P. Hastings (SIO,UCSD)

Population structure of the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata). Collaborators: R. Burton and A. Barker (SIO,UCSD), E. Lewallen (U. Toronto — Scarborough)

Psychology of fear and willingness to conserve sharks. Collaborators: E. Keenan and A. Gneezy (Rady School of Management, UCSD)

Recent Publications:
Nosal AP, Cartamil DC, Long JW, Luhrmann M, Wegner NC, Graham JB (in press). Demography and movement patterns of leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) aggregating near the head of a submarine canyon along the open coast of southern California, USA. Environmental Biology of Fishes. DOI: 10.1007/s10641-012-0083-5

Nosal AP, Lewallen EA, Burton RS (in review). Multiple paternity in leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) litters from a predominantly female aggregation in La Jolla, CA, USA. Revised manuscript resubmitted to the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

Nosal AP, Royer MA, Caillat A, Kisfaludy E, Wegner NC, Hastings PA (in review). Long-term daily and seasonal variation in leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) abundance at two aggregation sites along the open coast of southern California, USA. Manuscript submitted to Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Recent Presentations:
Nosal AP, et al. (2012). Low incidence of multiple paternity in leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) sampled from a predominantly female aggregation. Oral paper presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the American Elasmobranch Society, World Congress of Herpetology, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Nosal AP (2012). Local legends: the leopard sharks of La Jolla Shores. Invited oral presentation at the Jeffrey B. Graham Perspectives on Ocean Sciences Lecture Series, Birch Aquarium, La Jolla, CA, USA.

Nosal AP, et al. (2011). Aggregation behavior of the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) at the head of La Jolla Submarine Canyon, La Jolla, California, USA. Oral paper presented at the 29th Annual Meeting of the American Elasmobranch Society, Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Minneapolis, MN, USA. *Samuel H. Gruber Award for Best Student Oral Paper

Nosal AP, et al. (2011). Aggregation behavior of the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) associated with the head of La Jolla Submarine Canyon, La Jolla, California, USA. Oral paper presented at the First International Conference on Fish Telemetry, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. *Award for Best Student Oral Paper

Nosal AP, et al. (2010). Movement patterns of the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) along the open coast of San Diego County, California. Oral paper presented at the 28th Annual Meeting of the Elasmobranch Society, Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Providence, RI, USA.

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