Impacts of coastal urbanization on sharks off the coast of Miami

Principal Investigators

Hammerschlag, N.

Project members

Rider, M.


University of Miami


Blacktip shark, bull shark, blacknose shark, lemon shark, tiger shark, great hammerhead, nurse shark, green turtle, loggerhead turtle


United States



Impacts of coastal urbanization on sharks off the coast of Miami

Coastal marine habitats support a rich diversity of marine life and are ecologically and socio-economically important. However, coastal development and urban sprawl threaten these ecosystems.

As urban centres expand, coastal species experience altered access to food and shelter, decreased predation, and other habitat changes through boat traffic, fishing, noise and chemical pollution. However, the effects of urbanization on marine and coastal species, especially predators, is not well understood. 

 At the University of Miami in Florida, an OTN-supported array is helping researchers assess the impacts of coastal development and urban sprawl on shark health and behaviour. Researchers are also using hydrophones and detection software to measure boat activity (noise) in relation to the residency patterns of tagged sharks. While the analyses have revealed no clear evidence of the effects of boat traffic on shark habitat use, the data offer insight into the potential impacts of urbanization on coastal sharks.

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