Citizen Science Project Collects 75,000 Shark Egg Cases

posted: 07/22/15
by: Danny Clemens

Britain's Great Eggcase Hunt Project recently announced the collection of a staggering 75,000 egg cases representing 13 different shark species.

First established in 2003 by the Shark Trust, the initiative calls on citizen scientists to collect and report sightings of egg cases on beaches throughout Britain. Egg cases (also known as mermaid's purses) protect embryonic sharks, rays and skates throughout their development. After the developing shark hatches, the egg cases typically wash onto nearby beaches.

Swell shark (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum) camouflaged egg case
Mark Conlin/Getty Images

"Reported findings allow the Trust to identify potential shark, skate and ray nursery grounds, providing valuable data that aids conservation," according to the initiative's website. "This process can help with the management of UK sharks, skates and rays, as well as help designate Marine Conservation Zones which should provide protection for some species from particularly damaging human activities."

The organization recently introduced an iPhone app that allows egg case hunters to report finds in-the-moment.


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