How I Became a Shark Saver: Tanya Brunner

Posted on December 14, 2012
Written by: Shark Savers

What is your name?

tanyaBrunner.JPGTanya Brunner

Where do you live?

Rocky Hill, Connecticut

What is your favorite shark?

Blue shark

What do you do to make a difference for sharks?

I write articles on shark biology for the education section of the Shark Savers website.

Why do you study sharks? Why not dolphins?

Every organism occupies a special place in the ecosystem. Dolphins are wonderful, but sharks have always fascinated me. They are especially interesting to me because we do not have the capacity to interact with them in ways that we typically enjoy doing with animals like dolphins and whales. They are so amazingly well-adapted to the many different environments they inhabit, and yet there is still a lot we don't know about them.

Why did you become involved with Shark Savers?

Shark Savers is a great organization. I have been following their growth over the last years and am impressed by all the positive work they have done and by the difference they are making all over the world. Their mission is something I also wanted to be a part of and contribute to.

How do you get the information for your articles?

I get most of my information from peer-reviewed journals that publish research done on sharks. This also helps me to access the most current information on a specific topic. In addition to citing research papers, I also use a variety of books on sharks and fish.

What is the most interesting thing about the biology of sharks?

Sharks are fish, and while they have a lot in common with many other species of fish, they are remarkably different. Their taxonomic group includes both very small and very large species, as well as very fast swimming, open-ocean and slow-moving, benthic species.

Most interesting of all is their very different reproductive biology: unlike most other fish, no sharks reproduce through spawning.

It is a large indication of the extensive amount of time that they have been evolving on earth. 

Do you think online resources, such as the Shark Savers Education pages, are important to shark conservation?

Absolutely. One of the most important things we can do for shark conservation is educate the public about their behavior, life history, and even their anatomy. When people better understand an animal, they are usually more inclined to protect it.

There are still so many unanswered questions about sharks. What mystery would you personally like solved?

I would be very interested in knowing more about the mating habits of great whites. For a fish so large, it is fascinating that we really do not know much about where they go to mate, when, and how often. It would certainly help us better understand how to protect this species.

Tanya's latest article looks at the way sharks produce heat in Endothermy: the Heat Within