Mote scientist publishes North American shark guide


Mote scientist publishes North American shark guide


Date: August 5, 2011
by: Robin Hartill | City Editor


Dr. Jose I. Castro has published “The Sharks of North America,” a comprehensive guide to the 135 species of sharks that live within 500 miles of North American shores.

Castro is a senior biologist at Mote’s Center for Shark Research and a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Castro became hooked on sharks as a graduate student when he looked in the zoology lab fridge for food to feed crabs — at that time his subject of study. He spotted a set of frozen shark jaws and knew they belonged to a lemon shark — even though colleagues told him a professor had identified it as a bull shark. Castro was so intrigued that he shifted his studies from researching the effects of pesticides to shark biology.

In 1983, Castro started working on a key for shark identification while completing his Ph.D. in shark identification at Clemson University. That key became “The Sharks of North American Waters,” which got its 15 minutes of Hollywood fame in the film “The Royal Tennenbaums,” when Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, Margot Tennenbaum, was seen reading the book in the movie’s opening scene.

“The Sharks of North America” is available at

Contact Robin Hartill at


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