Jennifer Bigman

Food habits of the North Pacific spiny dogfish, Squalus suckleyi (Girard 1854), off central California waters, with remarks on overlap indices and statistical methods of analyzing diet data

Jennifer S. Bigman



My primary interests include a broad range of topics relating to the general biology of elasmobranchs. More specifically, I am interested in life histories, biogeography and migrations, trophic interactions, as well as physiology and immunology. In May of 2009, I graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a B.S. in Marine Biology. During my undergraduate education, I worked in the benthic ecology laboratory, and interned at Mote Marine Laboratory.

Graduated – Summer 2013

Master’s Thesis:

For my master’s thesis, I am exploring dietary composition and variability in the North Pacific spiny dogfish, Squalus suckleyi (Girard 1854). My questions revolve around diet differences based upon intraspecific variables, such as size, sex, depth, year, and season. I will also examine diet variability based on spatial differences and gear type.

Squalus suckleyi (Girard 1854) is a resurrected species as of September 2010 (Ebert et al. 2010). It is endemic to the North Pacific, and differs from S. acanthias on the basis of morphological, meristic, and molecular data. The majority of the pervious studies on this species have focused further north, in British Columbia and Washington State. Information from this area for this species remains scarce. Furthermore, most of the data has been collected from specimens inhabiting inshore waters. Since this species has directed fisheries as well as associated bycatch in many fisheries for more economically important species, more information is needed to adequately address conservation concerns.

In addition, I will be investigating a suite of options for statistical analyses used in diet data. There are many overlap indices that are used to describe diet data, as well as historical indices, both single and compound. I will also use methods that are relatively recent to examine my data.