Ecology of Smalltooth Sawfish in Florida and the Bahamas:
Research to Support Recovery of a Critically Endangered Species
Speaker: Dr. Dean Grubbs
Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, Panacea, Fl
Date: Thursday, November 20th
Social: 7:00 p.m.
Program: 7:30 p.m.
The smalltooth sawfish is a formidable predator that grows to more than 16 feet in length and is among the largest coastal marine fishes in the world. The smalltooth sawfish is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Redlist of Threatened species and is the only native marine fish listed as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Sawfish declined due to overfishing, and fishery by catch remains the largest source of direct mortality, though habitat loss from urban development, agriculture, and freshwater diversion hinders recovery. In the Northwest Atlantic the remaining sawfish population is concentrated in southwest Florida and portions of the Bahamas.
Dr. Grubbs uses archival satellite tracking on adult smalltooth sawfish to:
- examine regional fidelity, migration and exchange between population segments,
- determine if aggregation sites related to feeding, mating or pupping exist and
- assess mortality risk due to interaction with commercial and recreational fisheries.
Their research has recently been featured in documentaries such as Public Television’s (WPBT) Changing Seas: Saving Sawfish. Following a screening of this short film, Dr. Grubbs will discuss his research findings to date.
Dr. Dean Grubbs is a fish ecologist with interests in the biology of recreationally and commercially important, as well as poorly studied, taxa of estuarine and marine fishes. Much of his research addresses specific biological gaps necessary for management and conservation of fisheries resources, especially coastal and deepwater sharks and rays as well as large pelagic species.
Dean is Associate Research Faculty and the Associate Director of Research at Florida State University’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory where he mentors graduate and undergraduate students, engages in community outreach, and maintains an active research program on the ecology of deep water and coastal fishes.
Our program meetings are held at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 2810 North Meridian Road.