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Elasmobranch lab Q & A: Seitz Lab

Institution: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Lead researcher: Andy Seitz


What is the central focus of your research group? Are there any big questions you’re guided by?

The central focus of my research group is applied fish behavior research.  We are guided by answering applied questions that pertain to fisheries management and potential impacts of human activities.


How did your lab begin?

The lab began in 2009 when I started my appointment at University of Alaska Fairbanks. 


What projects are graduate students working on?

I currently have six graduate students working on a variety of projects, including:

  • Understanding the ecology of tiger sharks in the Bahamas
  • Assessing potential impacts of salmon shark predation in the North Pacific ecosystem
  • Assessing a potential directed fishery for skates in the North Pacific Ocean Modeling and understanding movement of Pacific halibut
  • Understanding the spawning distribution of Chinook salmon in the Togiak River in western Alaska
  • Understanding overwintering habitat of whitefishes in Northwest Alaska


In which parts of the world do you conduct your research – are there specific species or habitats you focus on?

My research projects are conducted in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the rivers of Alaska.  I don’t focus on particular habitats, as important concepts universally apply to many habitats.


Do you involve undergraduates in your research – if so, how?

Undergraduate students participate in much of my research, in a variety of roles.  In many cases, the undergraduates conduct independent research projects and publish peer-reviewed manuscripts as first author.


Has your group been involved in public outreach or science communication – if yes, what has been most successful?

My lab group conducts a lot of public outreach, particularly in remote Alaskan villages near our field sites.  During this public outreach, we conduct informal and interactive presentations to communicate our research to local stakeholders.


Is there anything else we should know?

Alaska is an exciting place to conduct fish research, particularly on sharks and skates.  There are many basic facets of their ecology that are unknown, making it an exciting time to conduct research on these species.