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ABOUT US

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.

OUR MISSION

​RESEARCH

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.

EDUCATION

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.

CONSERVATION

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
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MEET THE RESEARCH TEAM

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Dr. Matt Smukall, PhD

President & CEO | Head of Research

mattsmukall@biminisharklab.com

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!

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Alina Hussey

Admin | Field Specialist | Research Technician 

admin@biminisharklab.com

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.

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Ally Draime

Field Specialist | Research Technician 

office@biminisharklab.com

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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Dr. Matthew, Dogtorate Degree

Vice President | Guest Experience Manager

Instagram: @tailof2matthews

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. 

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Chelle Blais

Creative Director | Field Specialist | Research Technician 

chelleblais@biminisharklab.com

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.

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Wyatt Albert

Media | Field Specialist | Research Technician 

media@biminisharklab.com

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.

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Emily Comber

Outreach | Field Specialist | Research Technician 

outreach@biminisharklab.com

Emily grew up in Melbourne, Australia. With her parents being zookeepers, she was always surrounded by weird and wonderful animals and there was never a question that she would work with them in the future. After graduating high school she worked with Australian terrestrial animals but always had a keen passion for sharks and the marine world. Spending much of her free time learning about marine life through podcasts and documentaries, she learnt about the BBFSF and kept a sharp eye out for internship opportunities. After a long stint of travel she joined the Shark Lab as an intern at the end of 2023 and fell in love. Emily hopes to attend University in the future for Marine Biology and Zoology.

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Egg

Eggsecutive Assistant to the Vice President 

Egg is our newest foster turned foster fail! She was rescued in early 2024 and everyone was immediately smitten by her sweet and Over Easy demeanor! Most days, she's a Good Egg, but when she goes to the beach she gets absolutely Scrambled, and by the end of the day she is curled up on someone's lap, totally Fried. 

Meet The Team

OUR FOUNDER

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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

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THE RESEARCH STATION

25.699549, -79.296973

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THE 
BOARD

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

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PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY

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