View recent blog entries
Member for
6 years 30 weeks

Researcher Information


Dr. Taylor Chapple is a postdoctoral researcher at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University.

Taylor has been a TOPP team member since 2005, studying the white shark population off Central California.

Taylor grew up in the great state of Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. After receiving his BA from Boston University, Taylor began studying sharks with the Commercial Shark Observer Program and the National Marine Fisheries Population Assessment Group.

Taylor received his PhD in Ecology in 2009 from the University of California, Davis. Taylor’s PhD work focused primarily on efforts to determine the status of sharks and what methods we can use to manage them.

During his graduate work, Taylor developed a method to mathematically model the white shark population off of California using their dorsal fins. Because the shape of the trailing edge of the dorsal fin is unique to each individual shark (like a fingerprint), Taylor and his colleagues were able to identify individuals for over 25 years. The results from this work showed that the population abundance of white sharks off central California was surprisingly small; only around 220 adolescent and adult individuals.

After receiving his PhD in 2009, Taylor began an appointment as a Postdoctoral Researcher with Dr. Martin Wikelski at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. At MPI Taylor studied the energetics and behavior of highly nomadic birds and sharks. Taylor, in collaboration with Desert Star Systems, designed a unique animal tag that can create an artificial magnetic field around free-swimming animals. This tag will enable Taylor and his colleagues to understand how animals like white sharks can make long oceanic migrations using magnetic fields for navigation.

In 2011, Taylor became a Postdoctoral Researcher at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University with Dr. Barbara Block. Taylor’s current work again focuses on white sharks, as well as their close relatives salmon and mako sharks. Taylor is working with other TOPP team members to determine trends in white shark population of Central California. In addition, his research looks at novel ways to incorporate tagging data into shark population models and more general movement and behaviors of these species.

If you want to keep up with Taylor, the TOPP team and central California’s white sharks, download the free app Shark Net from the iTunes Store.

Selected Publications

Chapple, T. K., Jorgensen, S. J., Anderson, S. A., Kanive, P. E., Klimley, A. P.,
& Block, B. A. 2011. A first estimate of white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, abundance off central California using photo-identity marking. Biology Letters

Jorgensen, S. J., Chapple, T. K., Anderson, S. A., Hoyos, M., Reeb, C., &
Block, B. A. 2012. Connectivity among White Sharks Coastal Aggregation Areas in the
Northeastern Pacific. Global Perspectives on the Biology and Life History of the Great White Shark

Carlisle A.B., Kim S.L., Semmens B.X., Madigan D.J., Perle C.R., Jorgensen S.J., Anderson, S.A., Chapple, T.K., Kanive, P.E. & Block B.A. 2012. Using stable isotope analysis to understand migration and trophic ecology of eastern North Pacific white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). PLoSONE

Anderson, S. A., Chapple, T. K., Jorgensen, S, J, Klimley, A. P., & Block, B. A. 2011.
Validation of Long-term Individual Identification and Site Fidelity of Great White Sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, Off California Using Dorsal Fins. Marine Biology

Jorgensen, S. J., Reeb, C. A., Chapple, T. K., Anderson, S., Perle, C., Van
Sommeran, S. R., Fritz-Cope, C., Brown, A. C., Klimley, A. P., & Block, B. A. 2009. Philopatry and migration of Pacific white sharks. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Stanford University