Demian Chapman

Lead Principal Investigator

  Associate Professor, School of Environment, Arts and Society



Dr. Chapman addresses critical conservation issues by exploring pressing biological questions. He combines molecular and field-based approaches to better understand the population biology, evolution and ecology of large marine vertebrates, particularly sharks and their relatives. His work contributed to the establishment of marine reserves in Belize and The Bahamas. He is the author of numerous conservation articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Molecular Ecology, PLoS ONE, Biology Letters, and Science.

  How does philopatric behaviour (i.e. individual residency or return migration) affect the population structure and genetic diversity of marine animals?

  How do marine reserves affect sharks and rays?

  What anthropogenic, environmental, and habitat features influence the local abundance and diversity of large marine predators on a global scale?

  What is the species composition of the global shark and ray fin trade and how is this changing over time? 

    Western Atlantic Region


    Hong Kong

  Uses acoustic and satellite telemetry to better understand the movements of sharks and other large fish in relation to protected areas (e.g. marine reserves).

  Combines tracking studies with baited remote underwater video (BRUV) surveys of reef shark abundance to directly assess the effectiveness of marine reserves for these species.

    Conducts genetic market surveys in Asia to asses the species composition of the global shark and ray fin trade and how it is affected by new regulations (e.g. listing of sharks and rays on the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species). 

  Assesses the role of philopatry (i.e. residency or return migration) in structuring shark and ray populations. 

   Develops wildlife forensic resources to monitor the global shark and ray fin trade. One such resource is the Shark Fin ID Guide, co-authored with Debra Abercrombie, which is used by customs and enforcement personnel from all over the world to identify the fins of five shark species of particular conservation concern. This guide was an integral part of successful proposals to list these species on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in March 2013.

   Works to delineate management units, scale management interventions, and source wildlife products in trade back to their geographic area of origin.

  Discovered that female sharks are able to reproduce asexually in captivity. Recently discovered that female rays are doing so in the wild.

  Member of the Science Advisory Committee for Pew Environment’s Global Shark Program.