Guitarfish Project’s first expedition to Cyprus
A collaboration between the Apex Marine Predator lab of The Morris Kahn Marine Research Station, MER research institute , and ISea , funded by the Blue Marine Foundation executed a seven-day expedition to Larnaca in Cyprus.
Sightings of blackchin guitarfish (Glaucostegus cemiculus) neonates from both the Israeli and Cypriot coastal waters brought the two research teams together to better understand the biology and population connectivity of this critically endangered species in the Levantine Sea.
Field days sessions took place every night with the help of a local sports fishing club and included morphometric sampling and PIT tagging allowing confirmation of an individual recapture at other locations. Gills, mouth, and skin were sampled for microbiome, and blood was taken from neonates over 45 cm in total length.
Tissue samples in the form of a fin clip will be used for genetic analysis aimed at constructing the black chin’s population structure found in northwest Levantine (Larnaca coastline) and the species nursery grounds in the eastern Levantine Sea (Israeli coastal waters).
The team concludes this successful expedition with a total of 51 guitarfish neonates sampled and safely released back to Cypriot waters as shown in the video.