Research Experiences

 

 

The Bimini Sharklab is delighted to offer an all-inclusive opportunity to individuals looking to gain insight into the abundant variety of shark species that inhabit the waters surrounding Bimini. We merge cutting-edge shark science with ecotourism in an effort to shed light on the urgent need for conservation of marine animals and ecosystems.

 

 

The experience includes:

  • 5 days packed with shark encounters
  • 4 nights of comfortable accommodation
  • 3 meals per full day
  • 2 way chartered flights between Miami and Bimini

 

Once here, you will experience our most enthralling locations and activities that have been established over 25 years of studying the islands. The activities include: snorkeling a coral bed teeming with reef sharks; feeding juvenile lemon sharks among a mangrove-fringed nursery; handling nurse sharks; familiarizing yourself with shark anatomy; shadowing a PhD for a day of field work. When you’re not in the field, you’ll spend your time among a community of shark and ocean lovers, exchanging exhilarating stories and learning what it takes to run a top tier research field station. Ideal for individuals, friends, and families, our Research Experiences promise to leave you in awe of tremendous apex predators! Below is more information on the details of the experience.

 

Every research experience we host is different and unique. During your stay in Bimini, you will participate in many of the following activities, along with any research studies going on at the time. The list below gives a brief description of each activity we offer. Your input will help shape our itinerary for the week. Please be aware that all activities are dependent on weather, season, and tide.

Our Shark Encounters: 

  • Shark Work-Up Session: Every shark we catch, from the 40 cm juvenile up to the 4-meter adult, requires a set of data to be collected. In this work-up session, you will help determine the species and sex of an individual, as well as measure lengths, take a DNA sample, and give the shark an identification tag if necessary.
  • Caribbean reef shark snorkel: A staff and volunteer favorite. Here, you’re able to watch reef sharks feed while holding onto a buoyed anchor line. Once the sharks have dispersed, you can snorkel through the gorgeous reefs of Triangle Rocks, rich with tropical reef fish and marine invertebrates.  
  • Aya's Spot juvenile lemon shark spotting: Having studied the tidal tendencies of these juvenile sharks, we time our departure from the lab to observe their departure from the mangrove-laden nursery, called Aya’s Spot.
  • Sapona snorkel: The SS Sapona was constructed in WWI and later converted into a warehouse for storing alcohol during the Prohibition Era. Around the ship’s hull, your group can expect to see a variety of marine life: stingrays, various damselfish, pufferfish, corals, sponges, etc. There are also some large openings to view the ship's interior from the outside.
  • Blacktip Shark Fishing: Blacktips are a common species in the area, and can be seen in schools upwards of 20 individuals.  Near the eastern beaches of North Bimini, we chum the water with the hopes of drawing in a few of these extraordinary sharks.
  • Nurse shark ledge snorkel: This rock ledge is resting habitat for our adult and sub-adult nurse sharks. An easy boat drive away from the lab, this activity illustrates a unique life history facet of this amazing sharks species. It also provides opportunities to spot other hiding marine life, including a few lobsters and eels tucked up under the ledge!
  • ​Releasing juvenile nurse or lemon sharks into the wild: Depending on our research needs, we often locate and swap out wild, juvenile sharks from the back pens. They must be returned to their place of capture. To do this we use GPS coordinates to locate their original location, and free them either into mangrove nurseries or under rock ledges.
  • Great Hammerhead Encounter (winter season only)The mysterious and endangered great hammerheads are frequent visitors of Bimini during our winter season. A quick boat ride to the western side of the island will put you right at their front door. You’ll be allowed to snorkel alongside these incredible and increasingly rare giants. 
  • Honeymoon Harbor: Just north of Cat Cay sits an idyllic beach that boasts of a flourishing ray population. With squid in hand, we can observe and hand feed a common elasmobranch species, the southern stingray as they float by in large groups.
  • Turtle Rocks Snorkel: Southward, along the Great Bahamas Bank’s edge, runs this archipelago of rocks that feature a coral reef with an extensive elasmobranch biodiversity, including eagle rays, nurse sharks, sub-adult lemon sharks, reef sharks, and even bull sharks.
  • Longline Set: A Sharklab staple, longline fishing allows us to survey the surrounding waters of Bimini. Using multiple hooks baited with hefty pieces of bait, this is the best opportunity to encounter some of the biggest sharks we see. If you're willing, you may be called upon to assist in data collection and tagging.
  • Shark Handling CourseThis course is the cornerstone of being able to assist in several aspects of our research. This program will have you handling sharks like the pros (a.k.a. our staff and volunteers) and serves as a field lecture on lemon shark physiology. 
  • Current Research: Depending on the time of year, we can incorporate you into a variety of PhD student-lead projects. Whether it’s actively tracking our tagged sharks with hydrophones, or watching the juvenile lemons' social behavior from an observation tower, there will be numerous opportunities to chat with the scientists that are advancing shark research.

 

Our Research Experiences are open to absolutely ANYONE. If you have an interest in marine or shark biology, this is the perfect opportunity to delve into scientific research. Perfect for individuals and groups alike, we just ask that people under the age of 18 be accompanied by an adult. Please note that there is a minimum of 4 guests needed for each Reseach Experience and a maximum of 6.

Our Research Experiences are offered over the first full week of every month. Please reference the table below for dates and availability over the next year. If you're interested in scheduling a Research Experience well beyond these dates, simply include that in your enquiry form and we will check on availability. The dates are also dependent on lab availability.

 

Program Dates
November 2 - 6, 2016 July 5 - 9, 2017
December 7 - 11, 2016 July 26 - 30, 2017
January 4 - 8, 2017 September 6 - 10, 2017
February 1 - 5, 2017 November 2 - 6, 2017
March 1 - 5, 2017

December 7- 11, 2017

   
February 7 - 11, 2018  
July 4 - 8, 2018   
July 25 - 29, 2018   

The Sharklab is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is run on a shoestring budget. Funding for our research comes from a variety of sources: scientific grants; donations; university courses; film crews; and volunteers. The prices we advertise are calculated to cover the costs of flight (between Miami and Bimini), accommodation, food, fuel, boat use and staff use as well as provide a donation to our research and your very own copy of our Shark Doc, Shark Lab book. All donations to the station are tax deductible and we can provide receipts on request.

 

Adult

Group booking ( size 4-8)

Child (Under 12)*

Price per person - Summer Season (May-November)

US $1625

US $1525

US $1025

Price per person - Great Hammerhead Season  (December-April)

US $2025 US $1925 US $1525

*There must be a minimum of two adults in the party to book a child's price. Otherwise, the adult price will be charged. 

In order to book a Research Experience, we require a deposit equal to 10% of your total payment. Full payment for the research experience must be made at least 4 weeks prior to your visit. 

From beachfront cottages to top-story lofts, South Bimini has a handful of apartments that we set you up with to rest between and after our daylong adventures.  Depending on the size of your group, we will place you in the best-suited location. 

For almost 25 years, we have hosted weeklong undergraduate courses, providing an exciting academic curriculum that gives our visiting students a full experience. More recently, we have also offered Naturalist courses for the general public, which expanded our reach and demographic niche. These have provided us ample training in conducting safe, educational ecotourism on behalf of shark science.  

 

If you would like to participate in one of our research experiences, please fill out our enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. For any other questions, please email us at opportunities@biminisharklab.com.

 

 

 

 

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