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Established in 1990 by Dr. Samuel Gruber, today the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation (BBFSF) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization located on the island of South Bimini, Bahamas.


The mission of the BBFS Foundation is to advance our knowledge of the biology of marine animals especially the heavily impacted elasmobranch fish fauna (sharks and rays); to educate future scientists at undergraduate and graduate levels; and to disseminate our research results to advance the field of marine science and conservation biology, as well as raise public perception and awareness of sharks and other marine species.



Understanding the biology of sharks and rays and the role that they play in the marine ecosystem through cutting edge field and laboratory research, spanning multiple disciplines such as molecular and behavioural ecology, physiology, conservation and sensory biology.


Educating future scientists through providing opportunities for students, to design and conduct research projects at the undergraduate and graduate level, to complete advanced university degrees in the marine sciences; and through voluntary training as interns, thus advancing their field experience and skills.


Enhancing conservation and awareness through disseminating our results to both the public (tours of our facility, talks, tv documentaries, social media, posters and blogs) and scientists (peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations and posters, fishery reports and books).

Our Mission



Dr. Matt Smukall, PhD

President & CEO | Head of Research

Matt grew up in Orlando, FL with a keen interest in the marine biology, and obtained his Masters Degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Science from the University of Florida. He spent several years working with salmon in Alaska and during breaks from the Alaskan winter, Matt volunteered at the Shark Lab. This began in 2012, and he came back several times to volunteer over the next few years. In 2015, Matt started his PhD research in Bimini through the University of Alaska, and in 2018 finished his PhD classes and exams. Upon hearing of the completion of exams, Doc Gruber immediately declared his retirement and passed the torch onto Matt!


Jasmine Nyce

Station Administrator | Research Technician

Jasmine (aka Jaz) grew up outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended the University of New England where she earned her B.S. in Marine Sciences with a concentration in Marine Biology in May 2020. She volunteered with the Shark & Fish Lab while completing her undergraduate degree, which is where her passion for marine conservation arose. Jaz joined us in October 2020 as a volunteer and has since moved up to her current role as the Station Administrator. She oversees the hiring and management of our interns, keeps track of our supplies, and manages day-to-day operations and communications. Starting in August 2022, Jaz will be completing her M.S. in Fisheries through the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She will be working with Dr. Andy Seitz in collaboration with BBFSF on an acoustic telemetry project based in Florida, focused on bull sharks and their movement in the region. 



Alina Hussey

Station Assistant | Research Technician 

Alina recently graduated from the University of Windsor in September 2021 with an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. During her degree she was able to gain interdisciplinary experience which involved classes in organizational management, environmental science, and sociology. Alina first worked in the field when she was an intern at the Vamizi Conservation and Research Centre, based on Vamizi Island in Northern Mozambique. This first look into the practical aspects of the scientific process inspired her to seek other opportunities to expand her skillset... inspiring her interest in the Shark Lab! She is very interested in tackling problems related to science communication and hopes to complete a master's in marine and coastal management in the next few years.


Ally Draime

Station Assistant | Research Technician 

Ally graduated from University of California Santa Cruz with a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Environmental Studies back in 2017. Immediately after university she worked as the resident biologist of an orchid and bromeliad botanical garden and ecological reserve in Chiapas, Mexico. Although she loved it, she realized her true passion lies in marine conservation. While conducting research in Baja, Mexico in university, she became immensely passionate about working with fishermen on the topic of sustainable fishing and shark conservation and never stopped thinking about it. She is determined to pursue a career in these fields! 

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Assistant to the Vice President | Guest Experience Trainee

Ace was born in Bimini a few days after Christmas 2021. He was rescued by the Shark Lab April 5th, 2022 and by April 8th, 2022 he was officially our Foster Fail. Ace has nearly mastered all of basic training, but has a bit of work to do on “acting cool.” He is obsessed with the existence of Matthew, loves coconuts, people, all the toys, zooming and did we mention gazing at Matthew?


Chelle Blais

Creative Director | Research Technician

Chelle grew up in a small town in Ontario, Canada. After years of travelling and working in the dive industry as a dive instructor, Chelle's interest shifted from teaching diving to learning more about her favourite thing - Sharks! Her first shark research & conservation experience was completing an internship program in South Africa, and a few years later Chelle joined Lab as the Media Manager. Now happily settled in Bimini full time with Matt and Matthew, Chelle is busy creating new media projects, designing and maintaining the Shark Lab website, developing fundraising initiatives, and assisting in all aspects of research activities.


Baylie Fadool

Media | Outreach | Research Technician

Baylie is from Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated with her Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December of 2020. She headed straight to the Shark Lab for her internship in January of 2021 and has not looked back since! Throughout her time, she has worked up to the Media Manager and Outreach Coordinator. As the Media Manager, she can always be seen underwater with a camera in her hands and helps run the Shark Lab's social media pages. In her role as Outreach Coordinator, she helps think of fun and creative ways to engage the general public in education and conservation through conservation events, virtual talks, tours of the Shark Lab, local school visits, and more! She also describes herself as an underwater photographer, diver and storyteller. There is arguably nothing she loves more in this world than nurse sharks, and she will stop at nothing to make sure everyone else appreciates them as much as she does.

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Wyatt Albert

Station Assistant | Research Technician 

Wyatt is from Southern California, so the ocean is no stranger to him.  Wyatt was fascinated by sea creatures from an early age, especially sharks.  His goal of being a Marine Biologist was established early on.  Wyatt recently graduated from Florida Southern College (Spring, 2022), where he earned a bachelor's degree in Marine Biology.  He had the opportunity to experience the Shark Lab through FSC where he fell in love with everything about the lab and its mission and made it a personal goal to return. During his time at Florida Southern, Wyatt conducted research on ectoparasitic flatworm abundance in Tilapia. In his free time, Wyatt can be found fly-fishing, spearfishing, diving, and photographing the wonders of the ocean.


Dr. Matthew, Dogtorate Degree

Vice President | Guest Experience Manager

Dr. Matthew (AKA Dr. Tootie, Dr. Toots) was adopted by the Lab in 2016 and spent the following two years helping Matt Smukall with his PhD data collection. It might be a bit of favourtisim, but once Matt took over the Lab as President of the Foundation, he appointed Matthew as his right hand boy - Vice President. Matthew’s interests include digging for ghost crabs on the beach, chasing invasive iguanas, getting treats from newcomers, performing his best tricks for treats, swimming, looking for sharks, barking at sharks, and helping with construction projects. 

Meet The Team



Doc Gruber

MAY 14 1938 - APRIL 18 2019

"During his battle to live Doc made a promise to himself: if he could beat the cancer, he would open his own dedicated research station at Bimini. Once he had recovered, there was no chance that he wouldn’t follow through and realize his dream. With blood, sweat and tears, in 1989 Doc and his wife Marie, with a team of students, built a field laboratory that was officially established as the Bimini Biological Field Station (Shark Lab) the following year." - Excerpt from Doc's eulogy written by Dr. Dean Grubbs & Dr. Steve Kessel



25.699549, -79.296973



Our Board of Directors are committed to the growth and success of the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation. 

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