shark lab crew
PRESIDENT & CEO
At Lab Since: Volunteer - 2012, 2013, 2014, PhD Candidate - June 2015 to June 2018, CEO November 2018
From: Orlando, Florida
Education/Background: University of Florida - Fisheries and Aquatic Science - Masters Degree
University of Alaska - Fisheries and Ocean Science - PhD Candidate
Reason for Coming: I grew up in Florida, and my mom was a marine biology teacher, so from an early age I was doing a lot of marine science things. We’d go to the beach to see what little crabs, or invertebrates, or small fish were there. My love of the ocean started off at a pretty early age just through what was passed down to me. I came to volunteer at the Lab during my breaks from working with salmon in Alaska, and eventually asked to conduct my PhD research on tiger sharks in Bimini. Doc always said he knew exactly what the tiger sharks were doing here, I just wanted to prove it.
KATHRYN (KASH) MALINOWSKI
IN FORT LAUDERDALE
At Lab Since: July 2021
Education/Background: Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies from Salve Regina University in 2014 and a Masters of Science in Protected Area Management from James Cook University in 2017
Reason for Coming: While completing my degrees I was lucky enough to travel all over the world and experience different diverse ecosystems. The one thing I always looked for while diving across the world were sharks, no matter the size or species, I would find them. My love for the ocean grew when I was an environmental educator in The Bahamas experiencing the wonders of nature there daily. I am excited to be joining Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation and making sure it is able to thrive and watch it grow to greater heights.
STATION ADMIN / RESEARCH TECHNICIAN
At Lab Since: October 2020
From: Telford, Pennsylvania
Education/Background: Graduated with a degree in Marine Science from the University of New England in May of 2020. Hoping to pursue a MS and PhD in the near future.
Reason for coming: During my undergraduate education I worked with the Sulikowski Shark & Fish Lab for two summers in the Gulf of Maine. I spearheaded a pilot study using baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVS). This study was the first of its kind in Maine waters and a paper will be submitted for review in the coming months. During my summers in Maine, I assisted with several other research projects at the Sulikowski Lab. These included ecology and movement of sturgeon, tagging and monitoring of blue and porbeagle sharks, and longlining surveys. I also had the opportunity to travel to Belize for a course where we spent a week snorkelling and observing the various coral species and the ecology of the reefs overall. With my experiences in Maine and abroad, I became extremely interested in shark management and conservation as well as the impact of climate change on the world’s oceans. I hope to expand on my past experiences here at BBFSF and determine the specifics of what type of research I would like to pursue in my future endeavors.
OUTREACH COORDINATOR / RESEARCH TECHNICIAN
At Lab Since: January 2021
Volunteer/intern: June-December 2017
From: Maine, USA
BSc Environmental Studies from Davidson College, 2017
MSc Marine Biology from James Cook University, 2020
Reasons for coming: While sharks will always be a passion of mine, what I love most about marine research is when scientists and community members come together. BBFSF is one of such places, where its wide-reaching marine network works to connect science to people. I am so excited to be a part of this organization and continue to build community relationships based around shark science and conservation.
MEDIA & FUNDRAISING / RESEARCH TECHNICIAN
At Lab Since: June 2017
From: Ontario, Canada
Education/Background: UW Photographer and dive instructor for dive liveaboards and resorts. Shark Lab Media Manager in 2017.
Reasons for coming: After working in the dive industry as a dive instructor for a few years, my interest shifted from teaching diving to capturing images of my favourite thing - Sharks! Sharing the research highlights from the work going on at the Lab has not only taught me so much, but makes me inspired to find new and exciting ways to engage the public and share accurate and valuable findings.
I first came to the Lab as the Media Manager in 2017, and I am now lucky enough to be here in Bimini full time with Matt and Matthew helping out with the ever growing Media and Outreach projects, website development, fundraising initiatives and assisting with whatever I can at the Station.
MEDIA ASSISTANT / RESEARCH TECHNICIAN
At Lab Since: January 2021
From: Gallatin, Tennessee, USA.
Education/Background: Graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (December 2020). Hoping to pursue higher education soon.
Reasons for coming: I have wanted to study sharks for as long as I can remember, and when I heard about the Shark Lab in 2014, I knew that I had to come and learn here. Because I live and attended school far from the ocean in landlocked states, I have not had many fieldwork opportunities in marine science. However, I have sought out and made as many opportunities that I could for myself. My first introduction to marine science was a field class that I attended through my university at the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, Georgia. It was here that I learned how much I loved being in the field. My job at my university as an American football equipment manager also made me realize how much I loved working in a fast-paced and continuously changing environment. After returning from my trip to Sapelo Island, it sparked my curiosity and led me to develop an independent project studying climate change effects on brine shrimp populations. In additional classes, I developed a conservation management plan for the Australian grey nurse shark and completed my undergraduate honors thesis on the distribution of marine megafauna and their prey due to various anthropogenic threats. My lab work and writing made me even more eager to study sharks in their natural environment and realize how much I love communicating and sharing my work with others. The Shark Lab will allow me to gain the field experience that I desire while being able to share it with others. I am so excited to have my first opportunity to participate in shark science here around such passionate and dedicated people and cannot wait to see what it leads to!
ASSISTANT / RESEARCH TECHNICIAN
At Lab Since: April 2021
From: North Andover, Massachusetts, USA.
Education/Background: Bachelors of Science in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University. I will be pursuing my MS and PhD in the near future.
Reasons for coming: I am from a small town in Massachusetts where I knew early on that I wanted to become a marine biologist however I was unsure of the steps it would take to get there. I took the first step by attending Coastal Carolina University and graduating with a bachelors in Marine Science in 2019. While I was at school I joined my professor, Dan Abel, on many of his shark research trips where we went out on a boat all day and set longlines. I also took courses that required a lot of field work, including a shark biology course where I actually got to stay at the Bimini Biological Field Station for a week and learn all about its current research. The lab really helped clarify which path I wanted to take with marine biology, especially Matt Smukall’s presentation on the spatial ecology of tiger sharks around Bimini. That is when I knew I wanted to specialize in shark ecology.
The day after I graduated, I started my job at the New England Aquarium where I was taught all about the different ecosystems all over the world, including temperate waters, Caribbean reefs, Indo-Pacific reefs, as well as the Amazon Rainforest. Working at the aquarium was an amazing experience and a great starting point however I realized the best way to achieve my goal is to go back to school and get a higher education. Before I went back, I wanted to get more field experience under my belt, so immediately I thought of the Bimini Shark Lab and the volunteer program it had. I am hoping this opportunity will give me all of the field experience and knowledge I will need to further my career in shark ecology and I am so excited to do it with such passionate and like-minded people!
Matthew was adopted by the Lab in 2016 and spent almost two years helping (then PI) Matt Smukall with his PhD. Naturally, Matt was smitten with Matthew, and in September 2018 Matthew was fully adopted by Matt and brought to live with him in Orlando.
Not long after, Matt started his position as Shark Lab CEO, and now Matthew is back in Bimini, living in a comfortable condo with Matt & Chelle, lazing about on his couch and occasionally swinging by the Shark Lab to bask in the attention of the staff and volunteers!