Campus Map

Camrin Braun

Adjunct Senior Oceanographer

Assistant Professor






B.S. Environmental Studies & Conservation Biology, The College of Idaho, 2011

M.S. Marine Science & Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, 2013

Ph.D. Biological Oceanography, MIT & WHOI Joint Program, 2018


2000-present and while at APL-UW

The functional and ecological significance of deep diving by large marine predators

Braun, C.D., M.C. Arostegui, S.R. Thorrold, Y.P. Papastamatiou, P. Gaube, J. Fontes, and P. Afonso, "The functional and ecological significance of deep diving by large marine predators," Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci., 14, 129-159, doi:10.1146/annurev-marine-032521-103517, 2022.

More Info

1 Jan 2022

Many large marine predators make excursions from surface waters to the deep ocean below 200 m. Moreover, the ability to access meso- and bathypelagic habitats has evolved independently across marine mammals, reptiles, birds, teleost fishes, and elasmobranchs. Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests a number of plausible functional hypotheses for deep-diving behavior. Developing ways to test among these hypotheses will, however, require new ways to quantify animal behavior and biophysical oceanographic processes at coherent spatiotemporal scales. Current knowledge gaps include quantifying ecological links between surface waters and mesopelagic habitats and the value of ecosystem services provided by biomass in the ocean twilight zone. Growing pressure for ocean twilight zone fisheries creates an urgent need to understand the importance of the deep pelagic ocean to large marine predators.

Vertical movements of a pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus): insights into the species' physiological limitations and trophic ecology in the Red Sea

Arostegui, M.C., P. Gaube, M.L. Berumen, A. DiGiulian, B.H. Jones, A. Røstad, and C.D. Braun, "Vertical movements of a pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus): insights into the species' physiological limitations and trophic ecology in the Red Sea," Endanger. Species Res., 43, 387-394, doi:10.3354/esr01079, 2020.

More Info

3 Dec 2020

The pelagic thresher shark Alopias pelagicus is an understudied elasmobranch harvested in commercial fisheries of the tropical Indo-Pacific. The species is endangered, overexploited throughout much of its range, and has a decreasing population trend. Relatively little is known about its movement ecology, precluding an informed recovery strategy. Here, we report the first results from an individual pelagic thresher shark outfitted with a pop-up satellite archival transmitting (PSAT) tag to assess its movement with respect to the species' physiology and trophic ecology. A 19 d deployment in the Red Sea revealed that the shark conducted normal diel vertical migration, spending the majority of the day at 200-300 m in the mesopelagic zone and the majority of the night at 50–150 m in the epipelagic zone, with the extent of these movements seemingly not constrained by temperature. In contrast, the depth distribution of the shark relative to the vertical distribution of oxygen suggested that it was avoiding hypoxic conditions below 300 m even though that is where the daytime peak of acoustic backscattering occurs in the Red Sea. Telemetry data also indicated crepuscular and daytime overlap of the shark’s vertical habitat use with distinct scattering layers of small mesopelagic fishes and nighttime overlap with nearly all mesopelagic organisms in the Red Sea as these similarly undergo nightly ascents into epipelagic waters. We identify potential depths and diel periods in which pelagic thresher sharks may be most susceptible to fishery interactions, but more expansive research efforts are needed to inform effective management.

Mesoscale eddies release pelagic sharks from thermal constraints to foraging in the ocean twilight zone

Braun, C.D., P. Gaube, T.H. Sinclair-Taylor, G.B. Skomal, and S.R. Thorrold, "Mesoscale eddies release pelagic sharks from thermal constraints to foraging in the ocean twilight zone," Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 116, 17,187-17,192, doi:10.1073/pnas.1903067116, 2019.

More Info

6 Aug 2019

Mesoscale eddies are critical components of the ocean’s "internal weather" system. Mixing and stirring by eddies exerts significant control on biogeochemical fluxes in the open ocean, and eddies may trap distinctive plankton communities that remain coherent for months and can be transported hundreds to thousands of kilometers. Debate regarding how and why predators use fronts and eddies, for example as a migratory cue, enhanced forage opportunities, or preferred thermal habitat, has been ongoing since the 1950s. The influence of eddies on the behavior of large pelagic fishes, however, remains largely unexplored. Here, we reconstruct movements of a pelagic predator, the blue shark (Prionace glauca), in the Gulf Stream region using electronic tags, earth-observing satellites, and data-assimilating ocean forecasting models. Based on >2,000 tracking days and nearly 500,000 high-resolution time series measurements collected by 15 instrumented individuals, we show that blue sharks seek out the interiors of anticyclonic eddies where they dive deep while foraging. Our observations counter the existing paradigm that anticyclonic eddies are unproductive ocean "deserts" and suggest anomalously warm temperatures in these features connect surface-oriented predators to the most abundant fish community on the planet in the mesopelagic. These results also shed light on the ecosystem services provided by mesopelagic prey. Careful consideration will be needed before biomass extraction from the ocean twilight zone to avoid interrupting a key link between planktonic production and top predators. Moreover, robust associations between targeted fish species and oceanographic features increase the prospects for effective dynamic ocean management.

More Publications

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center