Sevengill sharks, Notarynchus cepedianus

2014: Latest Developments



Credit: Greg Amptman



Wildbook Pattern Recognition Program

Wildbook Pattern Recognition Program


March 22

After careful consideration and consultations with several knowledgeable shark researchers  (not all of whom agreed with my decision), I have decided to go forward with using Wildbook as the primary pattern recognition analysis tool for the Sevengill shark project. I am aware that the scope of the program is much broader than what we are currently set up to do as a citizen science project , ie: tagging and genetic sampling.


However, several factors influenced my decision.  

First: one of the two pattern recognition algorithms has already been successfully tested by biologist Brad Norman and ECOCEAN on whale sharks ( This will be an opportunity to see how well it works on sevengill sharks, whose pattern is different, to be sure. But you don’t know until you try. Science is all about experimentation and seeing what works and what doesn’t, right?


Secondly, because the program is open source, new updates are coming out on a regular basis, with improvements in both the software and the algorithms getting ‘pushed out’ to users. With feedback to the developer, the algorithm can be continually tweaked and improved to work more efficiently with this images of this species of shark, as our database grows over time. 

To see how this program is being successfully used to ID Whale Sharks, see here:

Here is more on the developers of the program, Jason Holmber and Zaven Arzoumanian: 

For more information on the methodology used in this project, please see here:


March 15

Formation of Ocean Sanctuaries Non-Profit


Experienced San Diego diver and filmmaker Barbara Lloyd and I recenlty decided the time had come to form an ocean-related non-profit here in San Diego which could serve as an umbrella organization to support citizen science projects, including, but not limited to this one as well as documentary films about the ocean and various ecological issues, to be called Ocean Sanctuaries

“We have envisioned an organization which is a collaboration between citizen scientists, scientists, and other like minded organizations to foster greater understanding, wise ecology, species protection and good stewardship of the ocean and related habitats. We hope to do this by creating a community which educates and shares information through multi-media, social media, and the web. We also make data and imagery, gathered by citizen scientists, available to the general public, scientists, and other organizations.”

–Barbara Lloyd

Rather than try to  summarize all the Mission Statements and developments surrounding the founding of Ocean Sanctuaries here, I am providing a link to an article which does so more succinctly:





 Note: for the purposes of the Sevengill shark project only (not the Shark Observation Network in general), only submissions or sightings accompanied by a minimally clear photograph identifying the animal as a Sevengill will be considered for analysis by the pattern recognition algorithm.


How To Log a Shark Sighting (Any Species): 

First Time Users:

1. Go here:  

2. Create a User Account with a User Name and Password and you’ll be ready to begin logging your encounters. Once you create your User Account, photos may be uploaded under the Comments section. Just follow the drop-down menu prompts for ‘Type of Observation, Species, etc.

Note: if you would like to have your Sevengill video featured here, on this site, under Videos, simply upload it to either You Tube or Vimeo (unfortunately, Facebook won’t work) and then email the URL to: mbear4(at) thanks! I will make sure you get credit.

On Your Android:

 See right-hand sidebar for link to QR Code to install Shark Observer  App, or download it free from Google Play here:


 For more documentation on this project, see also:

KPBS TV: Erik Anderson Interview/June, 2013:

Scientific American:

Citizen Science Projects:

Marine Science Today:

‘Are Sevemgill Sharks Making a Comeback?

Southern Fried Science:

PLOS Blogs:

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation:

Also, this project is now registered on the following citizen science websites:

Encyclopedia of Life:

Project Noah:

Cornell Lab Citizen Science Central


Project Baseline:

My Science Work: