Austin’s research is focused on studying the behavior, health, and survival of marine species such as sharks, and leveraging these findings to catalyze conservation efforts in the ocean. His research approach is defined by creativity and outside the box thinking. He is especially passionate about using cutting edge tools and organizing large collaborative teams to create the conservation evidence to solve emerging conservation challenges. Austin is involved in cutting-edge scientific research in the below areas.
A world authority on sharks, Dr. Gallagher is involved in a variety of research projects on these iconic species. This research is diverse, and includes efforts to track their movements, migrations, and habitat use, as well as finding ways to study their health, diet, reproduction, and genetics. These projects are focused on answering questions and creating knowledge to inform conservation.
Blue carbon is a term to describe all the carbon that is stored in marine ecosystems, usually sequestered by marine plants. Inspired by the partnering with tiger sharks to discover the world’s largest seagrass meadow – likely to be the most important carbon sink in the ocean – Dr. Gallagher is now involved in work seeking to map, quantify, and value blue carbon resources globally. This work is focused on generating nature-based solutions to climate change.
The Role of Predators
Fascinated by the power and elegance of apex predators, Dr. Gallagher is also interested in the role these keystone species play in food webs – and in the lives of humans. By taking an ecological approach to studying predator-prey dynamics, Austin has studied the effects of sharks on reefs, and even ventured out of the ocean to study predatory birds, mammals, and freshwater fishes.
An early adopter of emerging technologies, Dr. Gallagher uses innovation to find new solutions to the challenges of studying big and shy animals in the ocean. Working alongside pilots, engineers, defense experts, and even astronauts, Austin is using new and exciting technology to explore the deep-sea, track sharks and turtles, describe the biodiversity of our oceans, and survey remote ocean habitat. From deep-sea drop cameras to 360-degree cameras on tiger sharks, innovation drives Dr. Gallagher’s work and creates exciting stories to engage the public.