3. February 2019 Christine Gstöttner

The Great White Shark decoded – Sharkproject supports DNA analysis in Australia

The white shark (Carcharodon Carcharias) is one of the most fascinating sea creatures, but unfortunately also one of the most endangered. Some scientists say that the global population is already too small for this species to survive in the long term. We believe that it is not too late!

Unfortunately, far too little is known about the Great White Shark in order to enforce concrete and successful conservation measures. Many questions are still open: Where do most females bear their young? Where do they grow up and therefore need special protection? Is there social interaction within and between the individual populations? How do the global migration routes look? How large is the remaining gene pool?

In order to answer these questions it is vital to decipher the DNA of as many white sharks as possible. This would allow conclusions to be drawn about the genetic relationship between different, seemingly local populations, and provide valid insights into migration patterns and possible social relationships. A fascinating first insight into the so far completely unknown social behavior of white sharks has been provided by recent results of a DNA analysis by Dr. Mauricio Hoyos on the west coast of Mexico.)

(c) Sharkproject

Dr. Sara Andreotti im Labor

SHARKPROJECT has the un03ique opportunity to further advance this research. A dedicated marine biologist from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, Dr. Sara Andreotti, in collaboration with Prof. Jennifer Ovenden (University of Queensland in Brisbane) is studying a large and up-to-date collection of tissue samples taken from Australian waters. These samples come from white sharks that have probably never been scientifically studied before. The current aim of the study is to evaluate samples from Australian waters (see Figure: Area B) for their DNA and then compare them with DNA from South African Great White Sharks (see Figure: Area A). The scientists hope to gain exciting new insights into kinship and socialisation between sharks over an area covering thousands of nautical miles. Dr. Mauricio Hoyos, who is part of the team working on the Sharkproject “Great White Mystery” project, will enrich this research with his findings from Mexico (see Figure: Area C). This could perhaps provide evidence of a hitherto completely unknown migration across the Pacific. That would be a real sensation!

The evaluation of the tissue samples, the so-called “sequencing of DNA”, is complex and costly. Until now, Dr.Andreotti herself has been obliged to raise the necessary funds to cover laboratory costs. This leads to delays which we can no longer afford if we are to save the Great White Shark. In order to achieve initial results more quickly, Sharkproject is covering the costs of the analysis for 150 tissue samples. A DNA sequence analysis costs 15 Euro per sample. A DNA sequence analysis costs 15 Euro per sample. Currently 250 samples of Australian white sharks are to be analyzed. You can support the analysis of the last 100 samples with a donation of 15 Euro. Please use the donation account of Sharkproject International and the Purpose of use “Great White Shark”:

IBAN DE32 5019 0000 4103 2920 99
Frankfurter Volksbank EG


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