Fall 2017 Seminar Series

Danielle Haulsee, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing and Biogeography (ORB) Lab
University of Delaware

Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, 3:00pm
Chase 105

Using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and Remote Sensing to Study the Spatial and Behavioral Ecology of the Sand Tiger Shark

Quantifying habitat selection in marine organisms is challenging because it is difficult to obtain species location information with corresponding habitat measurements. In addition, species like Sand Tiger sharks Carcharias taurus, exhibit many behaviors that make coastal species difficult to manage, including aggregatory behavior, sexual segregation, and large-scale migrations through shallow coastal waters with many opportunities for human interactions. Researchers use acoustic telemetry to record species locations, but few of these studies measure environmental covariates. To address this, we use remotely sensed sea-surface data, and a Teledyne-Webb Research Slocum glider carrying integrated acoustic hydrophones, to compare ocean properties to acoustic detection locations. Using a glider deployed off of the Delmarva Peninsula, USA, we found the Sand Tiger sharks associated with nearshore waters of lowered salinity and higher re-suspended color dissolved organic matter (CDOM). The integration of acoustic telemetry with gliders allows researchers to study the environmental influences on the distribution of other marine animals over broad spatial and temporal scales. In addition, we developed predictive occurrence models for Sand Tigers in the Mid-Atlantic Bight using satellite measured sea surface temperature, and remote sensing reflectance at 555 nm, as well as day of year and water depth. These models create a daily forecast map for the occurrence of Sand Tigers, which is useful for conservation and management efforts in this region.


Danielle Haulsee's interests include combining innovative technology and oceanographic remote sensing techniques with the biogeography and movement of marine species. Danielle became interested in marine biology as a child, growing up along the New England coast. When life moved her to inland Pennsylvania, she decided to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Marine Ecology and Geographic Information Systems from Gettysburg College. After earning her B.S. in 2010, she joined the Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing and Biogeography (ORB) Lab at the Marine Studies campus of the University of Delaware where she earned her Ph.D. in Oceanography. While Danielle was always interested in a variety of marine species, she never imagined she would be lucky enough to study sharks for her degree. Her dissertation combined shark locations and movement behavior from various telemetry platforms (acoustic and satellite tags), with ocean environmental characteristics measured by satellites and autonomous underwater vehicles. She used statistical models to quantify the habitat preferences, migratory behavior, and social dynamics of a threatened shark species to assist conservation efforts.