Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Earth and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Brian J Fryer




In response to the need for life history data for sharks, the use of femtosecond laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (Fs-LA-ICP-MS) was investigated as a novel method to investigate elemental profiles within white shark ( Carcharodon carcharias ) vertebrae. It was determined that (i) a suite of elements are present within the vertebrae above detection limits and (ii) elements were not reworked within the vertebral matrix. These elemental profiles are likely reflective of the individual's environment and basic information about habitat use, movement, and migration patterns throughout ontogeny can be determined. Calcium profiles within the vertebrae were analyzed as an alternative method to age sharks. The ages for Ca-profiles were ~3 to 4 times higher than previous methods using X-radiography, the growth rate was greatly decreased and age of maturity was increased 3 to 4 times. Fs-LA-ICP-MS is an important tool to expand knowledge on life history characteristics of elasmobranchs.