The Safina Center

Lemon sharks in the Bimini Islands, Bahamas.Lemon sharks in the Bimini Islands, Bahamas. Photo taken by: Matt Potenski.

Dr. Demian Chapman – Safina Center Fellow

Dr. Demian Chapman began his fellowship with The Safina Center in January, 2013. Chapman is a research scientist, shark geneticist and assistant professor at Stony Brook University (SBU). His research expertise lies in molecular biology and telemetry tracking, which he integrates to address research questions related to the dispersal and reproduction of sharks and rays. He is particularly interested in how shark reproduction and movements impact population dynamics, population genetic diversity and geographic population structure and their implications for conservation.

During their tenure as Safina Center Fellows, Abercrombie and Chapman have led Shark Fin ID Workshops around the world: Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand, UAE, Egypt, Peru, Brazil, Fiji, Hong Kong and Costa Rica. Their workshops train customs and wildlife inspectors who are in charge of identifying fins from shark species newly listed on CITES. These trained officials will be in charge of implementing new international regulations aimed at controlling the global shark fin trade. The innovative shark fin identification guide developed by Abercrombie and Chapman is the basis for these training sessions.

Chapman is an accomplished researcher and an emerging leader in the field of shark conservation. He and shark biologist Debra Abercrombie are both outstanding communicators working across scientific disciplines and at the interface between science and policy. Chapman’s specialty is molecular biology and wildlife forensics. Abercrombie and Chapman have been at the forefront of developing tools and resources to aid in monitoring and regulating the global dried shark fin trade. Chapman is helping small, island nations strengthen their ability to identify illegal shark fishing and enforce recently established shark sanctuaries.

Dr. Chapman is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific research articles, and currently manages field research projects on sharks in Belize, the Bahamas, New Zealand and Florida. He has just been awarded a 2014 Pew Fellowship in marine conservation.  

Chapman runs the Molecular Ecology and Conservation Biology Laboratory at in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University (SBU). Chapman’s DNA lab is located near The Safina Center offices at SBU.