The support is the result of a long-term relationship with the Foundation, which began in 2009 when founder Jens Neiser was impressed by a public lecture Professor Huveneers delivered on shark ecology research.
The opportunity for this research to expand on the limited knowledge of tiger sharks resonated with Mr Neiser and won his support.
‘Our Foundation focuses on supporting research into the endangered apex predators of our world, like saltwater crocodiles, white sharks and tiger sharks,’ says Jens Neiser.
While it started small, the study has now grown into an international multi-university research endeavour, and financial support from grants and donations has enabled this work to flourish.
‘We first went to Norfolk Island to examine the impact of microplastics on the tiger shark population and expected minimal effects in an untouched part of the Pacific, but we found much more,’ says Professor Huveneers.
‘The island has its own waste disposal problems, including offal from culling old cattle from its extensive livestock population, which might explain the large population of enormous, well-fed sharks, as most of the sharks we’ve tagged are over four metres in length.’
Research trips to Norfolk Island have seen the Flinders researchers apply acoustic tags and satellite tags to monitor shark movement, and collect swabs, muscle and blood samples to study the shark’s diet and microbiome.
‘Our focus on tiger sharks now informs the wider knowledge of sharks, which are highly vulnerable to the impact of people,’ says Professor Charlie Huveneers.