2017-07-13 / Schools

CLU prof’s work lands him on ‘Shark Week’

He studied DNA from attacks


SHARP MIND—Marine biologist Bryan Swig, a professor at Cal Lutheran, has conducted research that will be featured in the kicko episode of “Shark Week” on July 23. 
Courtesy of CLU SHARP MIND—Marine biologist Bryan Swig, a professor at Cal Lutheran, has conducted research that will be featured in the kicko episode of “Shark Week” on July 23. Courtesy of CLU Research by Cal Lutheran University marine biologist Bryan Swig into the DNA of great white sharks will be featured in the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” kickoff episode at 7 p.m. Sun., July 23.

The show, “Great White Shark Serial Killer Lives,” will update the story on great white shark attacks that occurred in October of even-numbered years from 2008 to 2014 at Surf Beach at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The 2010 and 2012 attacks at the secluded public beach were fatal. In both instances, a shark attacked and killed surfers.

Swig found a way to extract DNA from the enamel of tooth fragments to confirm that the attackers were white sharks. Other evidence suggests that the culprits were likely part of the same family group that migrates through the channel.

The Thousand Oaks resident has worked with students to track the origin and movements of sharks in order to assess the effect that warmer ocean temperatures, illegal harvesting and increased fishing of their prey are having on their behavior.

Swig also studies wetland habitat restoration and the human impact on watersheds and near-shore marine environments.

He began teaching at CLU in 2007 and became a full-time faculty member in 2010. He teaches biology classes, serves as the university lab coordinator and mentors undergraduate researchers.

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