Applied Research

TCRS began its e-learning program to widely disseminate knowledge gained from a range of applied research projects across various species, issues, and geographical locations.

Part of the solution to producing more food with less impacts is to bridge existing gaps between actual and attainable yields using current production practices and technologies. Another part of the solution is developing and transferring new production practices and technologies. Further advances can be achieved through innovation at each step in the value chain to improve productivity and efficiency of land, water, and energy use. 

Applied research, pilot projects, field demonstrations, and trainings are critical for putting knowledge into practice and advancing the benefits of responsible global stewardship.

Applied Research in the Field

Conserving the Critically Endangered Scalloped Hammerhead Shark in Panama

As apex predators, sharks play a vital role in healthy marine ecosystems. More than three-quarters (77%) of oceanic shark and ray species now qualify as threatened with extinction under the Red List criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) is listed as Critically Endangered, the highest threat category on the IUCN Red List. Our project aims to fill gaps in the scientific data needed for the design of a scalloped hammerhead conservation plan in Panama. With the threat level high, it is imperative that we find solutions.

On the Pacific coast of Panama, despite the ecological and commercial importance of sharks, there is a lack of knowledge regarding basic fishing data. Available data indicates that the scalloped hammerhead shark constitutes a high percentage of the catch, with a high proportion being immature individuals. Sharks and rays are exceptionally susceptible to overfishing because they tend to reach maturity slowly and produce only a few offspring at a time after long gestation periods. They are sought for their meat, fins, liver oil, and gill plates.

Our project aims to gain a greater understanding of the population status of the scalloped hammerhead shark in this region and to help facilitate appropriate conservation measures while determining viable and sustainable alternative livelihoods for fishers. Actions need to be taken to avoid potential extinction of shark species, unsustainable livelihoods, and the resulting deterioration of marine ecosystems.