Student Spotlight: Nicholas Coleman

Nicholas is seeking his BS in Marine Science with a minor in Biology from Coastal Carolina University with plans to graduate Fall 2019. He works in the Fish Community Monitoring Lab under Dr. Erin Burge.

He is most interested in fisheries conservation and fish ecology. To his knowledge, his research on the association between round scad and sand tiger sharks is the first of its kind, but Nicholas notes that this behavior has been observed by divers and other scientists in coastal North Carolina waters. He believes that acquiring knowledge on this association will provide a better understanding on the feeding habits of sand tiger sharks, listed on IUCN Red list as vulnerable, and trophic interactions on hard-bottom communities.

Based on the results he presented at the SEERS Spring 2019 meeting, round scad were observed more closely associated with sand tiger sharks in the presence of meso-predators (e.g., jacks and tuna). Nicholas received the Best Undergraduate Poster Award for his presentation! He hypothesizes that this association benefits sand tiger sharks by increasing predation opportunities on meso-predators. In the fall he plans to increase his sample size with the hopes of getting this research published.

If you are interested in learning more, follow Nicholas on twitter at @nccoleman_ or email him at