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.

In The News

Front page magazine cover featuring a shark swimming up towards the surface where the magazine title text is featured saying "Oregon Stater". Under the water, the text "Beyond Fear."

Big Fish Lab featured in Oregon State University's Stater Magazine!

OSU RESEARCHERS are working to change sharks' reputation and replace by our ignorance with awe.

Big Fish Lab's Taylor Chapple honored as an OSU Research Champion!

The Big Fish Lab's Dr. Taylor Chapple was recognized at a Beaver Football home game at Reser Stadium for the important work that he and the Big...

OSU-Cascades to host science pub talk on sharks

Oregon State University-Cascades will host a science pub talk Nov. 14 on sharks and research at the Chapple Big Fish Lab at the university's...

Taylor Chapple holding a shark

Science Pub talk on sharks set for October in Corvallis

Oregon State University’s Science Pub event return in October to Corvallis focused on the secret lives of sharks. The talk will take place at 6...

Two women in easy chairs conduct an interview

Fun Facts about Shark Moms - KATU Afternoon Live with Dr. Alexandra McInturf

Dr. Alexandra McInturf, a post-doctoral researcher from OSU's...

Dr. James Sulikowski on Cavuto Coast to Coast, FOX Business.

Humans are not on sharks’ ‘menu’ despite sighting surge: Dr. James Sulikowski

Shark expert Dr. James Sulikowski joins ‘Cavuto: Coast to Coast’ to discuss the surge of shark sightings and its impact on Northeast beaches...

Dr. Alex McInturf, a white woman, talks on Portland's KATU Afternoon Live

The BFL's Dr. McInturf talks Shark Facts with Portland's KATU News!

Dr. Alexandra McInturf, Post-Doctoral Researcher from OSU's ...

James Suilikowski and team realing in a baby shark

In Search of the Baby Sharks

Scientists are helping bring back shark populations that were overfished in the 1980s and studying baby sharks in an effort to better understand...

A white shark swims across a sand bar off the Massachusetts coast of Cape Cod, Aug. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Phil Marcelo, File)

Recent shark attacks are worrying beach-goers, yet experts say they're very rare

It's worth bearing in mind that many interactions with sharks are with smaller species that are unlikely to cause serious injuries, said James...

sharks under water

Man Loses Foot After Hawaii Shark Attack

Shark expert James Sulikowski, a marine biologist at the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab, told Newsweek that these types of...

Big Fish Lab featured in local news...Sharks 101 with Dr. Taylor Chapple

Dr. Taylor Chapple, assistant professor specializing in marine predator movement and dynamics with the Big Fish Lab, dropped by KATU news to...

Alexandra G. McInturf

Oregon State Researcher Leads International Effort to Protect Basking Sharks in Ireland

Like so many efforts to advance legal protections for endangered species, the science was key to shining a light on declining numbers of basking...

blue shark photo courtesy Hatfield Marine Science Center

Hatfield Marine Science Center Features Live Oregon Coast Shark Event

October's Science On Tap event in Newport will give you a closer glimpse into the world of sharks on the Oregon coast. It's a night of sharks,...

Large gray shark with open mouth in green ocean.

Sharp Decline in Basking Shark Sightings in California

A study published by the Big Fish Lab’s Alexandra McInturf, as part of her PhD, confirms a striking decrease in basking shark sightings after...

Linda King took this photo of the sunset and noticed what she thought might be a shark in the lower left corner.

Sharks are common in local waters

Taylor Chapple, assistant professor at the Marine, Fishing and Wildlife Department at Oregon State University, encourages people to explore the...

Courtesy photo

A Signal in the Ocean: Tracking tomorrow's Tiger Sharks

How new technology is helping aid shark conservation. Many pet owners insert chips in their dogs to track them in case of an emergency, but for...

whale shark

Whale sharks may live up to a century, Cold War bomb dating reveals

“This study is really important because it gets rid of some of those questions about the age and growth patterns of whale sharks,” says ...