Brendan Shea is a marine scientist and a PhD student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, working under the supervision of Dr. Francesco Ferretti. His research interests center around the ecology and conservation of elasmobranchs, in particular sharks. His PhD research focuses on the ecological role of sharks and ecosystem consequences of their removal, with a focus on predator-prey dynamics, risk effects, and trophic cascades.
Brendan holds a MS in Marine Biology from Northeastern University and a BA in Environmental Science from Colorado College. He completed his MS in December 2018, after conducting his thesis research with the ocean conservation NGO Beneath the Waves.
He used baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs) to examine how predation risk associated with large sharks such as white sharks may influence the behavior of other local fish species in the waters off of Cape Cod, MA, and found evidence that other, smaller elasmobranchs modified their foraging behaviors in areas where white sharks may be present. This project laid the groundwork for the PhD research he continues to pursue today.
Brendan continues to work extensively with Beneath the Waves and has led significant research efforts for the group in New England as well as in the Bahamas. In this role, he has been privileged to have the opportunity to work closely with a range of stakeholders in order to execute the research, including charter fishing operators, landowners, regulatory agencies, local business owners, and concerned citizens. This experience has demonstrated the importance of communication and collaboration across disciplines and stakeholder groups and continues to shape Brendan’s approach to his research and ultimate goal of shark conservation.