Dr. Austin Gallagher


I am a marine biologist fascinated with predators. Most of my work focuses on the sharks and their conservation, although I also commonly study other species of fish and even occasionally veer out of the water to look at other species such as birds and mammals. 

Physiology and behavior are the two areas where I do most of my work, and I try to integrate them as much as possible. Usually this results in some combination of movement analysis or tracking with evaluations of animal health, stress, or nutrition. I also conduct research on the role of predators and use classic behavioral ecology approaches to link theory with observation and natural history. Below are three of my primary areas of focus.

Shark Behavior, Ecology, and Physiology

Sharks are one of the most popular groups of animals on the planet, although today populations of many species are threatened due to overfishing. I am fortunate to have a large research program focusing on advancing our knowledge of these iconic predators, and using this information to inform their conservation. These projects focus on understanding the behavior, stress, nutrition and energy, and reproduction of sharks off North America and the Caribbean, as well as in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The majority of my shark research is done through the conservation NGO Beneath the Waves.

The largest program I am leading is an evaluation of shark sanctuaries in the Bahamas - this includes tracking and monitoring reef and tiger sharks throughout the Caribbean, as well as deep sea explorations to map biodiversity and new species. This work is designed to strengthen and expand marine protected areas worldwide.

Measuring a Toadfish Panama.jpg

Stress in Animals

Humans are profoundly affecting the daily lives of species. These interactions can be acute and physical, like catching an animal or removing its habitat, or they may occur indirectly through the transmission of sounds or the changing of temperate. I am involved in a variety of projects that look at how real and simulated human stressors like noise pollution and fisheries capture affect fish survival and fitness, in temperate and tropical waters. Much of this work is done in conjunction with my colleagues from the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab at Carleton University.


Predator-Prey Interactions

Predator-prey relationships shape entire ecosystems and I am very interested in the role top predators play on food webs and in the lives of humans. I am primarily looking at how predators affect prey species in marine ecosystems, but I am also involved in similar research in the air, and on land. Some ongoing studies include elucidating the role of sharks on coral reefs, determining how white sharks affect their prey, and how tiger sharks control Caribbean food webs. I have also studied the role of avian predation on freshwater systems using osprey and sunfish as a model system, and am engaged in a long term monitoring project on coyotes on temperate coastal habitats. This work involves looking at the effects predators have on prey species through direct consumption and also through fear-based, indirect methods.




Sydney Coulter, Northeastern University (MS, Primary Supervior)
Jessica Roth, Northeastern University (MS, Primary Supervisor)
Kelly Dooling, Northeastern University (MS, Primary Supervisor)
Hana Isihara, Northeastern University (MS, Primary Supervisor)
Mitchell Rider, University of Miami (MS, Supervisory Committee)
Jeremy Arnt, Coastal Carolina University (MS, Supervisory Committee)
Shannon Moorhead, University of Miami (MS, Supervisory Committee)
Pedro Gonzalez, University of Las Palmas of Grand Canaries, (PhD, Co-supervisor)


Brendan Shea, Northeastern University (MS, Primary Supervisor)
Connor Benson, Northeastern University (MS, Primary Supervisor)
Lindsay Phenix, Northeastern University (MS, Primary Supervisor)
Sarah Walton, Carleton University, (MS, External Advisor)
Robbie Roemer, University of Miami (MS, Supervisory Committee)
Cindy Gonzalez, University of Los Andes, Colombia (MS, Co-supervisor)
Jacob Jerome, University of Miami, USA (MS, Committee)


I love collaboration and am fortunate to have conducted research with and published papers alongside dozens of great researchers. Below is an active list of my regular collaborators (in alphabetical order). 

Dr. Simon Brandl, Simon Fraser University - fish ecology and conservation
Dr. Steven Cooke, Carleton University - fish telemetry,  fisheries, conservation physiology
Dr. Andy Danylchuk, University of Massachusetts Amherst - fish ecology, fisheries
Dr. Tristan Guttridge, Save the Blue - shark ecology
Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, University of Miami - shark ecology, telemetry, conservation
Dr. Nigel Hussey, Windsor University - shark ecology, telemetry
Dr. Charlie Huveneers, Flinders University - shark ecology, tourism, and eco-physiology
Dr. Duncan Irschick, University of Massachusetts Amherst - animal performance
Dr. David Jacoby, Zoological Society of London - shark movement ecology
Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou, Florida International University - shark movement and physiology
Dr. Heidi Pethybridge, CSIRO - shark energetics
Dr. Brennan Phillips, University of Rhode Island - deep sea shark communities
Dr. Jodie Rummer, James Cook University - fish physiology
Oliver Shipley, Stony Brook University - shark feeding dynamics and physiology
Dr. James Sulikowski, University of New England - shark physiology
Dr. Erica Staaterman, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management - fish acoustics
Dr. Alex Wilson, University of Sydney - fish ecology


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