Human confinement, motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a reduction in maritime traffic and fishing activity in the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time, in recent weeks, species as striking to our eyes as the basking shark, the second largest fish in the world, have been sighted in Spain. Is there a causal relationship between these two events? Is it an immediate consequence of the reduction in human impact on the marine environment?
David Ruiz, researcher at the Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, located in the University of Valencia Science Park, will answer these questions. Ruiz is a member of the R&D project Evaluation of the conservation status of sharks and rays in the Spanish Mediterranean through the study of fisheries: risks and priority actions (ECEME). Overfishing and habitat degradation are the main causes of the decline in elasmobranch populations. In many areas the deficiency in the data of capture and landing represents an impediment to know the real state of these populations. This project aims to assess the abundance and distribution of elasmobranchs in the Spanish Mediterranean using data obtained from fisheries observation programs and landings, as well as to identify which species are most vulnerable to the impact of this activity. This information is essential to improve the knowledge of sharks and rays and the establishment of effective measures for their management and conservation in the waters of this ecosystem.
David Ruiz is a PhD student at the Marine Zoology Unit of the University of Valencia. He received a scholarship from the International Program of the University of Valencia and completed his undergraduate studies in Australia, where he participated in the development of new methodologies for the study of sharks and rays. With the support of Academic Excellence grants he has participated in the study of thresher shark populations in the Philippines. In addition, he has collaborated in different projects aimed at the study of the biology and parasitology of marine vertebrates promoted by the University of Valencia, as well as sharks in particular thanks to projects led by the University of Oviedo and l'Oceanogràfic de Valencia.
David is currently working with the Zoology team of the University of Valencia and the Institute of Marine Sciences (CSIC) to study the distribution, abundance and conservation status of sharks and rays in the western Mediterranean through the ECEME project, which is supported by the Fundación Biodiversidad, from the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.
When and where?
With the interview format that characterizes our section #LivePCUV, on Monday June 8, #OceanDay, we will interview David Ruiz at 5:30 p.m. on our Instagram channel. The duration will be 30 minutes (15' of exposure and 15' in which he will answer the audience's questions).
You can access the interview live on the Instagram channel of the University of Valencia Science Park: https://www.instagram.com/parccientificuv/