Project GenoJaws

Understanding the past and present population dynamics of top predatory sharks using genetics


Jennifer Ovenden
Einar Nielsen
Mike Bennett


Carlos Bustamante
Charlie Huveneers
Bonnie Holmes
Safia Maher
Julian Pepperell

Funding bodies

Funded by the Australian (DP170102043) and Danish Research Councils. Supporting organisations include The University of Queensland, The Danish Technical University, Flinders University, New South Wales (including the New South Wales Recreational Fishing Trust) and Queensland State Governments, The Mohammed Bin Zayed Species Conservation fund and the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. We greatly appreciate the support of members of Game Fishing Clubs around Australia.



The tiger shark and white shark are two highly charismatic apex oceanic predators, and are species with important social, biological and economic significance within Australia and around the globe. However, the spatial and temporal dimensions of their demographies are poorly known. By conducting detailed genomic analyses on DNA from both living and long-dead specimens we will gain valuable insight into the biology of both species and provide information for conservation and management purposes.

This project will perform high-resolution retrospective genomic analyses using DNA extracted from contemporary and archival tiger and white shark skeletal material held in museum and trophy collections around the world. The central aims are 1) to elucidate population structure and spatiotemporal changes in population distribution 2) to estimate the effective number of individuals across populations, and 3) to investigate signatures of adaptive evolution in tiger- and white shark populations in response to exploitation and global change.

Project website

Project photo

Left: Karen Wright of the Sydney Game Fishing Club. Right: Einar Nielsen, The Danish Technical University
Credit: Julian Pepperell

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