Francesco Ferretti

Francesco Ferretti
Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) | VT · Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

PhD

About

93
Publications
60,459
Reads
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4,869
Citations
Citations since 2017
53 Research Items
3762 Citations
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Introduction
Francesco Ferretti currently works at Virginia Tech. Francesco does research in Zoology, Marine Biology and Ecology.
Additional affiliations
October 2016 - present
Stanford University
Position
  • Research Associate
Description
  • Working on ecological and management role of large marine protected areas, analyses of telemetry data and stock assessment of sharks and other large marine predators, and on innovative ways to detect and combat illegal fishing
October 2015 - October 2015
Stanford University
Position
  • Instructor
Description
  • Scientific Computing for Ecologists, Biologists and Environmental Scientists BIOS 248
July 2015 - September 2016
Stanford University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Stock assessment of reef shark populations for developing anti-poaching satellite- and radio-tagging technologies to aid monitoring and enforcement in remote large marine protected areas.

Publications

Publications (93)
Article
Full-text available
The white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a globally distributed, ecologically important top predator whose biology and population dynamics are challenging to study. Basic biological parameters remain virtually unknown in the Mediterranean Sea due to its historically low population density, dwindling population size, and lack of substantial sight...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of the three-dimensional movement patterns of elasmobranchs is vital to understand their ecological roles and exposure to anthropogenic pressures. To date, comparative studies among species at global scales have mostly focused on horizontal movements. Our study addresses the knowledge gap of vertical movements by compiling the first globa...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of the three-dimensional movement patterns of elasmobranchs is vital to understand their ecological roles and exposure to anthropogenic pressures. To date, comparative studies among species at global scales have mostly focused on horizontal movements. Our study addresses the knowledge gap of vertical movements by compiling the first globa...
Article
In the last 50 yr, shark populations showed steep declines in the Mediterranean Sea. The IUCN lists most Mediterranean species as Endangered (55%), while considering 27.5% of them Data Deficient. Here, sharks are currently one of the rarest and more elusive groups of animals, and data from fisheries and scientific monitoring still insufficiently su...
Article
Suitable shark conservation depends on well-informed population assessments. Direct methods such as scientific surveys and fisheries monitoring are adequate for defining population statuses, but species-specific indices of abundance and distribution coming from these sources are rare for most shark species. We can rapidly fill these information gap...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past 4 decades there has been a growing concern for the conservation status of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). In 2002, the first elasmobranch species were added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Less than 20 yr later, there were 39 species on Appendix II and 5 o...
Article
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106,107 ✉ replying to A. V. Harry & J. M. Braccini Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03463-w (2021) Our global analysis 1 estimated the overlap and fishing exposure risk (FEI) using the space use of satellite-tracked sharks and longline fishing effort monitored by the automatic identification system (AIS). In the accompanying Comment, Harry...
Article
This article is a response to Murua et al.'s Matters Arising article in Nature, "Shark mortality cannot be assessed by fishery overlap alone," which arose from arising from N. Queiroz et al. Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1444-4 (2019).
Article
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03496-1.
Article
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The ocean contains unique biodiversity, provides valuable food resources and is a major sink for anthropogenic carbon. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an effective tool for restoring ocean biodiversity and ecosystem services1,2, but at present only 2.7% of the ocean is highly protected³. This low level of ocean protection is due largely to confli...
Article
Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, are a highly migratory fish with high commercial and recreational value, currently managed as two major stocks with known spatial separation during spawning in the Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean Sea. The stocks of Atlantic bluefin tuna exhibit a high degree of intermixing during foraging, making it difficul...
Article
Full-text available
• A wide array of technologies are available for gaining insight into the movement of wild aquatic animals. Although acoustic telemetry can lack the fine‐scale spatial resolution of some satellite tracking technologies, the substantially longer battery life can yield important long‐term data on individual behavior and movement for low per‐unit cost...
Article
Full-text available
Silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis) represent a major component of global shark catch, both directly and as bycatch, and populations are declining as a result. An improved understanding of their movement ecology is needed to support conservation efforts. We deployed satellite and acoustic tags (2013-2018) and analyzed historical fisheries recor...
Article
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Given the recent trend towards establishing very large marine protected areas (MPAs) and the high potential of these to contribute to global conservation targets, we review outcomes of the last decade of marine conservation research in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), one of the largest MPAs in the world. The BIOT MPA consists of the atol...
Article
Full-text available
Species diversity assessments are an important step to evaluate the conservation status of a community, both in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. These assessments are pivotal if related to both, the constant increase of human pressure on ecosystems and the anthropogenic climate change occurring nowadays. Sharks and rays are globally threatened, a...
Article
Large marine protected areas (MPAs) of unprecedented size have recently been established across the global oceans, yet their ability to meet conservation objectives is debated. Key areas of debate include uncertainty over nations' abilities to enforce fishing bans across vast, remote regions and the intensity of human impacts before and after MPA i...
Article
Full-text available
The efficacy of large marine protected areas (MPA) for the conservation of mobile pelagic species is widely debated. Here, we quantified spatial and temporal trends in standardized catch per unit effort (CPUE) of two target pelagic species, yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) in the Indian Ocean to analyze the impact of t...
Article
Full-text available
Large, remote marine protected areas (MPAs) containing both reef and pelagic habitats, have been shown to offer considerable refuge to populations of reef‐associated sharks. Many large MPAs are, however, impacted by illegal fishing activity conducted by unlicensed vessels. While enforcement of these reserves is often expensive, it would likely bene...
Article
Full-text available
The Mediterranean Large Elasmobranchs Monitoring (MEDLEM) database contains over 3000 records (more than 4000 individuals) of large elasmobranch species from 20 different countries around the Mediterranean and Black seas, observed from 1666 to 2017. The main species included in the archive are the devil fish (1 813 individuals), the basking shark (...
Article
1. Sharks are globally exposed to several anthropogenic threats, which, in many cases, have severely reduced their distribution and have impacted populations. In the Mediterranean Sea, because of its long history of exploitation and the relatively short span of scientific monitoring, reconstructing shark baselines is challenging. Many vulnerable sp...
Article
Full-text available
The U.S. Congress is currently discussing the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act to eliminate shark fin trade at the federal level. This bill was introduced in 2017 and has been proceeding very slowly in Congress because of mixed reviews from the scientific community. Debate exists on whether shark conservation and management are effectively addressed...
Preprint
Background There are now a wide array of field and laboratory techniques available for gaining insight into the movement and behaviour of sharks. Although acoustic telemetry may lack the fine-scale resolution of some satellite technologies, the low cost and longer battery life make it a powerful tool for investigating elasmobranch behaviour. Here,...
Article
Determine the evolutionary origin of the heretofore poorly characterized contemporary Great White Shark (GWS; Carcharodon carcharias) of the Mediterranean Sea, using phylogenetic and dispersal vicariance analyses to trace back its global palaeo‐migration pattern. Mediterranean Sea. Carcharodon carcharias. We have built the largest mitochondrial DNA...
Article
Full-text available
Marine communities have long been impacted by human activities, but the quantification of human‐driven changes often relies on recent data. This is because historical data on fish populations are lacking and are challenging to include in contemporary stock and ecological assessments. As a result, the impacts of early fishing pressure on marine comm...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background There are now a wide array of field and laboratory techniques available for gaining insight into the movement and behaviour of sharks. Although acoustic telemetry may lack the fine-scale resolution of satellite telemetry, the low cost and longer battery life make it a powerful tool for investigating elasmobranch behaviour. Here, in the a...
Article
Full-text available
The Mediterranean Sea is a hotspot for shark conservation. A decline in large pelagic shark populations has been observed in this vast region over the last 50 years and a lack of data on the local population status of various species has been pointed out. Throughout history, the relation between people and sharks has been revolving around a mixture...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation of apex predators is a key challenge both in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The white shark is a rare but persistent inhabitant of the Mediterranean Sea and it is currently assessed as “critically endangered” in the region. However, the population trends and dynamics of this species in the area are still unknown. Little is known ab...
Presentation
Full-text available
Conservation of apex predators is a key challenge both in marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and sharks represent one of the most endangered groups in the ocean as a consequence of fishing exploitation, high vulnerability and a generalized lack of data on ecology and conservation status. This situation is particularly critical in the Mediterranean...
Poster
Full-text available
Sharks represent one of the globally most endangered groups of fish, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea where 57% of the species are considered threatened by the IUCN. Occurrence sightings are increasingly scarcer in the area and targeted surveys are rare and limited to specific sectors. However new opportunities are emerging to exploit unconven...
Presentation
Full-text available
In the Mediterranean Sea, sharks are currently one of the less frequently observed groups of animals. Scientific surveys do not provide enough observation effort to collect relevant data on the presence and distribution of the species, and fisheries data have been historically scattered and rarely adequate in terms of taxonomic resolution. Followin...
Article
Full-text available
The distributions of migratory species in the ocean span local, national and international jurisdictions. Across these ecologically interconnected regions, migratory marine species interact with anthropogenic stressors throughout their lives. Migratory connectivity, the geographical linking of individuals and populations throughout their migratory...
Article
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Effective ocean management and conservation of highly migratory species depends on resolving overlap between animal movements and distributions and fishing effort. Yet, this information is lacking at a global scale. Here we show, using a big-data approach combining satellite-tracked movements of pelagic sharks and global fishing fleets, that 24% of...
Article
Full-text available
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have become an increasingly important tool to protect and conserve marine resources. However, there remains much debate about how effective MPAs are, especially in terms of their ability to protect mobile marine species such as teleost and chondrichthyan fishes.We used satellite and acoustic tags to assess the ability...
Article
Full-text available
Predatory behavior and top-down effects in marine ecosystems are well-described, however, intraguild interactions among co-occurring marine top predators remain less understood, but can have far reaching ecological implications. Killer whales and white sharks are prominent upper trophic level predators with highly-overlapping niches, yet their ecol...
Article
Full-text available
Many species of sharks and some tunas are threatened by overexploitation, yet the degree of overlap between industrial fisheries and pelagic fishes remains poorly understood. Using satellite tracks from 933 industrial fishing vessels and predictive habitat models from 876 electronic tags deployed on seven shark and tuna species, we developed fishin...
Presentation
Full-text available
Sharks are among the most endangered group of animals in the world, and in the Mediterranean Sea they have shown steep declines both in coastal and pelagic ecosystems. Of the 40 species of sharks occurring in the Mediterranean Sea, 57% are classified by the IUCN as threatened (vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered), of which 30% are crit...
Article
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Amoroso et al. demonstrate the power of our data by estimating the high-resolution trawling footprint on seafloor habitat. Yet we argue that a coarser grid is required to understand full ecosystem impacts. Vessel tracking data allow us to estimate the footprint of human activities across a variety of scales, and the proper scale depends on the spec...
Article
The benefits of protected areas depend on compliance, and achieving protection remains a challenge in intensely used areas where conservation and socioeconomic goals are in real or apparent conflict. One recent innovation – satellite tracking of commercial fishing vessels – has been introduced to help with ocean protection initiatives and build tru...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the full extent of past ecological changes in human-influenced marine systems is needed to inform present management policies, but is often hampered by the scarcity of information about exploitation practices and population status over the entire history of fishing. The history of commercial fishing in South East Australia is relative...
Article
Full-text available
Scientific monitoring has recorded only a recent fraction of the oceans’ alteration history. This biases our understanding of marine ecosystems. Remote coral reef ecosystems are often considered pristine because of high shark abundance. However, given the long history and global nature of fishing, sharks’ vulnerability, and the ecological consequen...
Article
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More than half the fish in the sea As the human population has grown in recent decades, our dependence on ocean-supplied protein has rapidly increased. Kroodsma et al. took advantage of the automatic identification system installed on all industrial fishing vessels to map and quantify fishing efforts across the world (see the Perspective by Polocza...
Article
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The aim of this study is to synthesize available information on sea pens in the Mediterranean Sea and fill existing knowledge gaps through modelling of suitable habitat, with the overarching goal of informing strategies for protecting sea pen habitats from trawling impacts and facilitating their recovery. A review spanning the last 30 years was con...
Article
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The intensity and frequency of climate-driven disturbances are increasing in coastal marine ecosystems. Understanding the factors that enhance or inhibit ecosystem resilience to climatic disturbance is essential. We surveyed 97 experts in six major coastal biogenic ecosystem types to identify “bright spots” of resilience in the face of climate chan...
Article
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The relationship between number of species and area is a well-known macro-ecological property that can be used as an indicator of human impact on natural communities. This relationship can be described by species–area relationships. We explored the application of species–area relationships to data sets of bottom trawl surveys to determine their abi...
Chapter
Full-text available
Sharks and rays are among the most endangered group of marine animals and include many species for which there is little information on abundance and distribution. There are no global abundance trends for elasmobranchs as a group, and very few robust regional trend indicators. Population-level stock assessments, which provide the most reliable inde...
Article
Full-text available
Approximately 25% of globally reported shark catches occur in Atlantic pelagic longline fisheries. Strong declines in shark populations have been detected in the North Atlantic while in the South Atlantic the situation is less clear, although fishing effort has been increasing in this region over the last 50 years. Here we provide a synthesis of in...
Article
Full-text available
Global loss of predators calls for increased conservation of these crucial ecosystem components. However, large predators can also threaten public safety and adversely affect economic activities, creating conflicts between different public interests. In the ocean, although many shark species are facing worldwide declines, recorded instances of unpr...
Article
Full-text available
Human impact on the oceans predates scientific observation, which for many animal populations has captured only recent changes. Such a limited knowledge can hamper finding optimal management and conservation strategies including setting appropriate recovery targets. Sawfishes are among the most endangered marine vertebrates in the ocean. Historical...
Chapter
Over the past decade, the benefits that healthy oceans provide have increasingly become the focus of science, management, and policy making (e.g., Halpern et al. 2012, Samhouri et al. 2013). Productive oceans enhance food security (Garcia and Rosenberg 2010), and marine habitats protect millions of people from floods, hurricanes, and typhoons (Barb...
Chapter
Full-text available
When reconstructing long-term changes in marine ecosystems and populations of marine animals, historical data are needed to encompass the natural scale of population dynamics, disentangle short-term variability from longer fluctuations, and describe events that occurred decades or centuries ago. Historical data, however, are often difficult to obta...
Article
Fisheries exploitation has caused widespread declines in marine predators. Theory predicts that predator depletion will destabilise lower trophic levels, making natural communities more vulnerable to environmental perturbations. However, empirical evidence has been limited. Using a community matrix model, we empirically assessed trends in the stabi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Question/Methods Species-area relationships are well-known macro-ecological properties often used as indicators of human impact on natural communities. The structural forms of these relationships depend on ecological properties of the sampled communities, as well as on the statistical nature of the data used to construct these function...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
It is presented the analyses on the MEDLEM (Mediterranean Large Elasmobranchs Monitoring) database that, up to now, contains more than 2000 records and over 2700 individuals of large elasmobranchs in the Mediterranean coming from 20 different countries. The main species represented in the archive are devil rays (736 individuals), basking sharks (ab...
Conference Paper
Atlantic Ocean fishing fleets report approximately 25% of global shark landings. The level of these catches is likely an underestimation of the total fishing mortality affecting sharks in the area due to unreported catches related to discards and finning. Notwithstanding, strong declines of shark populations have been detected in the North Atlantic...
Poster
The Mediterranean Large Elasmobranchs Monitoring (MEDLEM) database contains more than 2000 records (n>3000 individuals) of large elasmobranchs species from 20 different countries around the Mediterranean Sea caught or observed from 1666 to 2014. The main species represented in the archive are devil rays (736 individuals), basking sharks (682 indivi...
Chapter
Full-text available
7.2.1 Mediterranean Sea Francesco Ferretti The Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis) and the Smalltooth Sawfish (P. pectinata) have been previously included in a number of historical and recent regional faunal lists of the Mediterranean Sea (Tortonese 1956, Whitehead et al. 1984, Serena 2005). Yet the nature of the presence of sawfishes in this Sea...