José E. Trujillo, Ph.D. is a marine biologist originally from Ecuador. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in marine biology at the Universidad Austral de Chile in Chile and earned a Ph.D. in marine science at the University of Otago in New Zealand. During Trujillo’s research in Chile, he revealed how the structural complexity provided by kelp forests serves as essential habitats for egg-laying sharks. In Trujillo’s doctoral dissertation, he investigated the mechanisms by which young sharks effectively reduce predation risk, examining the escape behavior, kinematics and physiology of newborn blacktip reef and sicklefin lemon sharks. His research reveals how these sharks capitalize on the physical and thermal features of the shallow reef flats around the island of Mo’orea in French Polynesia to enhance their escape when cohabiting with larger predators. Trujillo’s work is valuable to understanding the factors that contribute to habitat quality in shark nursery areas.
As a Postdoctoral Associate at BTT, Trujillo will be leading research on shark depredation in the Florida Keys. He brings his expertise as a shark behavioral ecologist to understand drivers and consequences of this shark-human interaction.