2016: A Year in Review

‘Tis the season for end-of-year recaps, and I’m certainly up for jumping on the bandwagon.

2016 was year that I wanted to try and revive this blog a bit, which was at least partially successful.  Finishing up a dissertation didn’t do me any favors as far as posting frequency, but adopting a “quality over quantity” posting strategy did manage to bring in a bit more traffic.  Overall Ya Like Dags saw more visitors and page views than either 2015 or 2014, and also outperformed 2010, the first year of its existence.  Hopefully I can keep that positive momentum going into 2017, and oh yeah, actually start posting over at Southern Fried Science again.

Out of this year’s posts, Gut Check was the biggest hit.  Riding a wave of interest in trophic cascades stemming from the release of Grubbs et al. (2016), an awesome rebuke of the too-often-cited “sharks vs. rays vs. scallops” cascade, this post tried to make a case for the importance of getting hard data on the diets of predators before making broad statements about their roles in the ecosystem.  This post also cited Frisch et al. (2016), who proved that not all sharks hanging out around coral reefs are apex predators.

On a professional level, 2016 saw me moving from North Carolina to Maryland, where I’ll continue to chase sharks (and now also rays!) for science.  It also saw the publication of the first peer-reviewed paper to come out of my dissertation work on shark habitat use in North Carolina’s nearshore and estuarine waters.  While I only really got that one paper out this year, I’ve been working on several more and 2017 will hopefully see a bunch of them come out in rapid succession.  My time on the water was considerably more limited in 2016 than in previous years, but I did manage to tag my first bull shark, which also happens to be the first juvenile bull shark tagged with an acoustic transmitter in Pamlico Sound.  I’m still waiting on tag detections data from the little guy and I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes.

2017 is looking to be even sharkier than 2016, with at least two shark-related projects ready to go this summer.  I’ll more than likely continue to put out relatively substantial posts on an opportunistic basis as I’ve done this year, so keep an eye out for post alerts on Twitter.  In the meantime, fair winds and calm seas.