CBCB Seminar

February 6, 2023 3:30 PM

Ammon-Pinizzotto Biopharmaceutical Innovation (BPI) Building
Conference Room 140

A tale of two eggs: Application of small and big data in zebra shark conservation.

Dr. Jennifer Wyffels

Post Doctoral Researcher, Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, UD

For nearly a decade zebra sharks Stegostoma tigrinum have been listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Like many elasmobranchs, aspects of zebra shark life history including details of reproduction remain uncharacterized, hampering constructive management of this declining species. The Stegostoma tigrinum augmentation and recovery project (StAR) is a conservation effort to re-establish a healthy, genetically diverse breeding population of zebra sharks in the Raja Ampat Archipelago, New Guinea, through introduction of juveniles raised from eggs laid by genetically appropriate adults from aquaria worldwide. This seminar will highlight several ways that genetic data is being used to understand more about zebra shark reproduction and embryonic development in an effort to support ongoing conservation efforts.

Short Bio:
Dr. Wyffels did her PhD in Animal Physiology at Clemson University with a focus on the immune system of elasmobranchs. She was a National Science Foundation and Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science postdoctoral fellow at Aichi Medical University, Japan, where she conducted research on the developmental biology of the cloudy catshark. As a research scientist in the Center for Wound Healing Research at Daemen
University, she used proteomics to characterize chronic wounds and identify biomarkers of healing wounds. In 2012, she joined the University of Delaware Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and its ongoing Little Skate Genome Project. Dr. Wyffels conducts research on reproduction and developmental biology of elasmobranchs to fill deficits in critical life history knowledge that will inform management and conservation policies. Her current research is in collaboration with aquaria to develop assisted reproduction techniques for sharks and rays.