Trophic ecology in deep-sea sharks


Researchers : Ulrich Martin (principal investigator)
                       Jérôme Mallefet (principal investigator)
External collaborators:

- Prof. Gilles Lepoint (ULg, Belgium)
- Prof. Jaquemet Sébastien (Université de La Réunion, France)
- Dr. Clive Roberts (Te Papa Museum, New Zealand)

- Dr. Emma Jones & Dr. Richard O’Driscol (NIWA, New Zealand)
- Dr. Keiichi Sato (Okinawa Churashima Research Center, Japan)
- Prof. Hsuan-Ching Ho (National Dong Hwa Univ., Taiwan)

The trophic importance of sharks in their ecosystems is well-known for surface species. But due to technical difficulties, the role of deep-sea ones is currently poorly known and most information come from stomach contents analyses. More recently, alternative ways have been developed in order to study deep-sea sharks’ trophic role. The use of stable isotopes analyses has proven to give interesting insights in sharks’ trophic ecology. In a recent internship, the marine biology laboratory applied stable isotopes analyses to two species of deep-sea sharks: Etmopterus spinax (Linnaeus, 1758) and Etmopterus molleri (Whitley, 1939). It unveiled certain aspects of their trophic ecology.


A Ph.D. aiming to determine deep-sea sharks’ trophic role in their ecosystems is currently in progress in the marine biology laboratory. In order to carry out this project, both stomach contents and stable isotopes analyses are used with samples coming from multiple locations around the world: North-East Atlantic, Taiwan, The Reunion Island and New-Zealand.