African Journal of Marine Science

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Short Communication

Evaluation of an underwater biopsy probe for collecting tissue samples from bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas

R Daly, MJ Smale


This study evaluated the use of a novel underwater biopsy probe designed to collect muscle and dermal tissue samples from large (170–220 cm total length), free-swimming bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas. The biopsy probe tissue retention rate was 87% after 23 trials, and the mean size of retained tissue was 310 mg (SD 78). Biopsy sampling provided a method t o obtain tissue samples without having to capture or restrain the shark. In all cases retained tissue samples were large enough to conduct stable isotope or genetic analysis. Biopsy sampling used in conjunction with other fishery independent and non-lethal methods may become an increasingly useful tool to investigate shark populations where researchers encounter logistical or conservation-related constraints.

Keywords: biopsy probe, laser photogrammetry, non-lethal sampling, underwater photography, wound healing

African Journal of Marine Science 2013, 35(1): 129–132
AJOL African Journals Online