Big Fish Lab

The complex and interdependent nature of the current and emerging challenges facing the oceans require an integrated approach, uniting innovations in science, education, and action. Oregon State University–a world class research university–is well positioned to lead such an initiative through the internationally recognized science of Dr. James Sulikowski and Dr. Taylor Chapple.

Photo Credit - The Irish Basking Shark Group

About Us and Our Research

Both Dr. Sulikowski and Dr. Chapple have dedicated their careers to being marine stewards. Their work, centered on marine apex predator conservation - especially sharks - stretches globally across our ocean planet. Together, they form a dynamic duo of shark science, unique to universities across the world. Together, they innovate how shark research is typically pursued, inventing new technologies and techniques to help protect and save sharks, which in turn helps keep marine ecosystems and the communities and industries they support vibrant and productive. Together, they have built a team of international collaborators and a unique community, bringing complementary expertise in climate science, ecology, behavior, and physiology that are critical to advancing the mission to conserve sharks and the ecosystems they inhabit.

For the last 20 years, Dr. Sulikowski, Dr. Chapple, and their partners have led scientific, technological, and data-driven advancements in how sharks and other marine predators are studied and protected, helping us better understand the numerous complex challenges facing these fish. This work has resulted in nearly 400 scientific publications, new insights into shark movements and behavior, and groundbreaking new technologies to remotely observe these animals and learn more about their reproduction – a topic about which we know very little but is critical to informing policy designed to protect sharks. This collective research has also produced a substantial media impact including features on national and international news channels, as well as science-based productions by the BBC, the Discovery channel and National Geographic, bringing much needed recognition to these misunderstood animals. In addition, Drs. Sulikowski and Chapple have trained hundreds of students from all demographic backgrounds, with a dedicated and ongoing emphasis on increasing diversity in this field. These actions are deliberately designed to build the next generation of shark- and oceans-focused STEM ambassadors in coastal communities worldwide, equipped with knowledge of cutting edge scientific and technological innovation in shark research.