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- Ecology and conservation of marine populations and ecosystems
Sharks have been swimming the world's oceans for millions of years.
But, even after surviving untold natural upheavals, it's the arrival of humans on the planet that's just about done them in.
University of Victoria biologist Dr. Julia Baum has documented a 90% decline in oceanic shark populations in just a few decades.
After focusing for many years on quantifying impacts of fisheries on sharks in the Northwest Atlantic, her research is now focusing on sharks on Pacific coral reefs.
Dr. Baum is trying to understand how these large predators shape coral reef ecosystems, and what the consequences are of losing them.
She's also starting to see the dividends of her work. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which regulates trade of things like elephant ivory, just added a number of shark species to their listing.
This is a huge conservation victory, says Dr. Baum, not only for her own research but for everyone who devotes their lives to marine conservation.
Dr. Baum and her team are addressing their conservation questions through field studies on Kiritimati atoll, in the remote equatorial Pacific, and complex statistical analyses of large coral reef monitoring data sets.
She extends this global aspect of her research into her teaching by speaking to global conservation challenges and encouraging active learning through debate, discussion and dialogue.
Dr. Baum's research has direct relevance to ocean resource management, conservation and policy. She was recently awarded a 2012 Sloan Research Fellowship, which has often been won by researchers who went on to win a Nobel Prize.
The Baum Lab: http://baumlab.weebly.com