Being born and raised in Venlo (The Netherlands) nearly 200 km from sea (which is pretty far away for Dutch standards), it is probably not very obvious how Guido became so fascinated by the marine environment, and especially sharks. The answer is simple: lots of books, pictures and documentaries on a young age inspired him to follow an unlikely career path: specializing in elasmobranch (i.e. sharks and rays) biology. Now, his research has brought him to different parts of the world, including the Bahamas, South Africa, Mauritania and the Dutch Caribbean.
As part of his bachelor study Applied Biology at the HAS University of Applied Sciences, Guido researched the white shark population of Gansbaai (South Africa). Here he measured the white sharks using a relatively new technique and evaluated if it would a viable tool for growth studies of large marine fauna. He later continued this study in the Bahamas, to test the technique on great hammerhead sharks.
Guido obtained a master degree in Marine Biology from Wageningen University. For this he focused on the distribution of reef-associated sharks around Saba using data from acoustic tags, a long-term citizen science project and data from baited underwater video systems. He also worked on the conservation ecology of shark and ray species in West Africa, mainly in a large intertidal area called the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania. Besides that, he started the Oceaware project as a platform to share marine science news and conduct research projects related to marine predators like sharks. And he also has a deep fascination for the occurrence of large shark species in the Mediterranean Sea.
On Saba he studied the recently discovered silky shark by using acoustic transmitters and taking different tissue samples. By combining acoustic telemetry with specific analysis of these tissue samples, Guido tries to determine the movement of these young sharks on the Saba Bank, and on what food sources these sharks rely on before moving out to open waters. This project is a collaboration between the Saba Conservation Foundation, the Saba Bank Management Unit and Oceaware, and funded through the Save Our Shark project by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.
For more information about Guido’s work, follow him on his website:
http://guidoleurs.org, Or on Instagram or Facebook
Guido Leurs will be presenting on October 27th, 2018. We will be updating our calendar with activity dates and times as we continue to coordinate our event. Stay tuned!