Paper Co-Authored by Shark Expert Makes Download History
A journal article co-authored by School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences (LMMS) Honorary Research Fellow, Ms Sabine Wintner, was the most downloaded over a 12-month period on the CSIRO Publishing website.
‘I am honoured that the work received so much interest and very grateful for all the hard work the authors have put into it,’ said Wintner after receiving the news from the independent science and technology publisher.
A team of five international scientists and Wintner, conducted a study validating the lifespan of sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) from the western North Atlantic and south-western Indian Oceans using the special technique known as bomb radiocarbon dating for the age validation of the species.
Their study, led by Ms Michelle Passerotti, reported that the validated lifespan for Carcharias taurus individuals was at least 40 years for females and 34 years for males. Findings indicated that the current age-reading methodology was not suitable for estimating the age of the species beyond 12 years and future work needed to investigate whether vertebrae record age throughout ontogeny or cease to be a reliable indicator at some point in time.
Wintner joined the School of LMMS’ Biomedical Resources Unit as an Honorary Research Fellow in January 2007. Her love and passion for sharks led her to co-author over 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and to hold an h-index of 13.
Wintner said in 2010 and 2011 two tagged raggedtooth sharks made South African history as they were recaptured after 20.7 and 20.5 years at liberty. She mentioned this to her American colleagues and was told that they were starting to investigate longevity using bomb radiocarbon analysis.
‘The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence (KZNSB) has a large vertebral collection and had vertebrae which were old enough to be suitable for this analysis. We all felt that both our tagging data and vertebral samples would supplement their study.
‘I always had an interest in the longevity of this particular species,’ said Wintner, who is a Senior Scientist at the KZNSB.
Her interest in sharks goes back to when she was a teenager. ‘I found sharks fascinating then and always wanted to work with them. I am very fortunate to have fullfilled my dream.’
‘We are hoping that more students show interest and utilise our samples,’ Wintner said.