Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Branford, Connecticut.
Where did you go to school and what subject did you get your degree(s) in?
I received my bachelor’s and master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University and my Ph.D. at the University of Mississippi. All of my degrees are in biology.
How did you come to work at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center?
I started off as a cooperative student while working on my Ph.D. At the time I was finishing my degree, the Southeast Fisheries Science Center was starting to build a shark research team and I was subsequently hired on. Timing sometimes is everything.
What do you do at the science center?
I focus on biological and analytical work relating to population dynamics and life history of sharks. A major portion of my current research, which I’ve been working on for over the last 10 years, has been directed toward supporting recovery of endangered elasmobranchs—sharks, rays, and skates.
What do you like most about your position?
Its diversity. I work on a host of research questions and issues. I can be in the Bahamas one week satellite tagging oceanic whitetip sharks, to the Everglades examining habitat use of smalltooth sawfish, or free diving and tagging manta rays off Florida. My position also involves analytical work determining abundance trends of sharks, how old sharks live to be, and how often they give birth, and what level sharks are caught and released in commercial fisheries. All of these elements are needed to determine the status of shark populations.
What do you like to do outside of work?
When I’m not working, I enjoy surfing, paddle boarding, tennis, scuba diving, fishing, hunting, and backpacking.
Thanks Dr. Carlson! We have added a few of your recent web stories to provide quick links for us to share more about your work.
- Where Do They Go?! Biologists Tag Endangered Sawfish to Find Out
- Searching for the Giant Manta Ray
- Sawfish Search 2021
- Hooked on Sharks (Podcast)
- One-of-a-Kind Fishery Enhances Shark Science, Strengthens Sustainable Management