CURRENT VOLUNTEERS

LAUREN FAULKNER

From: St. Louis, Missouri

Education/Background:

Graduated with Bachelors of Science in Biology from Florida State University Fall 2019. Hoping to pursue masters and possibly PhD in near future

Reasons for coming:

Growing up in the middle of the US didn’t give to many opportunities for exploration into the marine biology field, but visiting my grandma in Florida began a growing love for the oceans and the life within. Throughout schooling I also discovered a love for biology that created a growing pathway to the field that is marine biology. Upon arriving to Florida State University I had the opportunity to intern at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium that opened my world to the amazing and quizzical life that is beneath the sand and water all around us. In my next opportunity, I was fortunate to help out and expand my knowledge of research in a project at the Florida State University Coastal Lab with Bonnetheads, Sphyrna tiburo, and from there discovered a love for sharks. I hope to expand my education and knowledge to help advance myself in this field. With this I can figure out what to one day specialize in as well as spreading awareness to help sharks

AGATHE BASSET-RAMBERT

From: Biarritz, France

 

Education/Background:

Graduated from the University of Bordeaux in 2017 with a Bachelor of Biology. My
first year of Master was at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I am now working on my
Masters project at the Bimini field station for my second year in Marine Biology and Ecology.


Reasons for coming:

I grew up in Biarritz, on the Atlantic coast of the south France. Seeing the ocean everyday created a fascination for it, and especially for sharks even though there is none there. I have wanted to study sharks since I was six years old and my educational path has been oriented to reach that goal. Finally, I am achieving this childhood dream through my work at the shark lab of Bimini. I started with a bachelor in General Biology at the University of Bordeaux in order to have a general idea of how nature works. I still did my internship on a marine biology topic at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology where I studied the recovery ability of Kaneohe Bay through ichtyoplankton study. This also permitted to learn English and discover another culture which bring me to my second adventure: a year abroad in California. There I learned a lo(ooo)t on marine biology, on research, on myself, and many other things that made this year amazing. I conducted my own research about the shovelnose guitarfish, which confirmed my aspiration to be a research scientist. By meeting people from different places over the world, I also discovered a new passion for cultural anthropology which I would like to go deeper into. Through all my experiences in Biology, I came to realize that what interests me most is the shark’s perception of their environment and how it influences their behavior, most likely in the context of global warming, especially ocean acidification. This is how I came to contact the Bimini sharklab where I will be doing my own project as part of the project of Clemency White. La vie est belle!

EMILY CORMIER

From: Guelph, ON Canada

 

Education/background:

Bachelor of Science Honours Environmental Science from Carleton University. Previous volunteer at the lab from August to October 2018.

 

Reasons for coming:

During my degree I had the chance to work for a conservation authority completing freshwater fish population studies. I also had the chance to volunteer for a short period of time in Costa Rica completing marine research. These experiences helped my realize that my true passion lies with marine biology. I find sharks interesting because there is still so little known about this keystone species. I am especially interested in the use of biotechnology in studying shark habitat use and the effectiveness of marine protected areas in preventing species population declines.

The last time I was at the lab, I loved the chance to be able to participate in a variety of ongoing research while also learning new skills. This time while at the lab, I am excited to be working on range testing the acoustic receivers around Bimini, to directly aid in the accurate collection of tracking data for future research. I am also, of course, excited to be returning during hammerhead shark season and am looking forward to a whole new set of opportunities.

From: Hampshire, England

 

Education/Background: I graduated with a Bachelors from University of Swansea in 2010, my dissertation was on "Growth, Fishing Effects and Catch Composition of Rajidae in the Bristol Channel". I then graduated with Masters in 2015 from Portsmouth University, my thesis was on "Identification and isolation of genes encoding components of the olfactory signal transduction system in Scyliorhinus canicula" - we hope to publish this work showing the first isolation and expression analysis of the TRPC2 channel in sharks.


Reasons for coming: My intention for the future is to design a PhD project utilising my background in both
developmental biology and marine ecology to create an interdisciplinary PhD. I wanted to come to Bimini because although I have University degrees I feel that I lack the field experience necessary to appropriately design such a PhD project. The wide variety of species and projects is something that Bimini is renowned worldwide for, and I am looking forward to immersing myself in the field station to truly expanding my knowledge base to establish an appropriate aim for my future PhD plans. I'm also hoping to improve my freediving skills in the crystal clear waters, and increase my breath hold.

KATHRYN HARTWELL GOOSE

From: Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

 

Education/Background:

2012 - 2015 BSc Conservation Biology & Ecology – University of Exeter

2017 - 2018 MSc Marine Environmental Management – University of York


Reasons for coming:

After completing my undergraduate degree, I was hooked on research and knew I wanted to pursue it as a career. Inspired by my lecturer’s biotelemetry research on basking sharks off the west coast of Scotland, I went on to complete a more marine conservation focused masters at the University of York. During this time, I had the opportunity to study elasmobranchs in Australia for two months. After I returned, I wanted to gain some more hands-on experience and applied for the internship programme here at Bimini. I volunteered between April – June 2019 and gained lots of new practical skills. Having loved my timed at the lab so much, I decided to return for a second time, and look forward to experiencing Bimini during a different season. 

GRACE MCNICHOLAS

MIKAELA ARENA
 

From: Delray Beach, Florida

 

Education/Background:

Graduated from Florida Atlantic University in Spring 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Hoping to pursue a masters or PhD in the near future. 


Reasons for coming:

As a toddler living in Florida, swimming and walking were skills I learned simultaneously.  I spent most days of my early life underwater. However, it wasn’t until I moved back to Florida for my undergraduate studies that I was able to reconnect with the ocean and my passion for the animals that lie beneath. 

At Florida Atlantic University I was fortunate enough to get involved in sea turtle research through the FAU Marine Laboratory. Here I was able to take my love for science to the next level, gaining experience in both field and laboratory settings. My growing passion for wildlife and conservation continued to grow throughout my undergraduate studies and I seized every opportunity I could to further my knowledge. One of those opportunities included studying in Galápagos, Ecuador where I was lucky enough to assist multiple scientists in their research projects on the islands. 

As the end to my undergraduate studies approached, the more certain I was that I wanted a career in research and to continue my studies at the graduate level. I became motivated to seek out new opportunities and advance my current skills before committing to a graduate program. After visiting Bimini as a tourist, I fell in love with the island and discovered BBFS. As a lover of all things science and sharks, I wanted nothing more than to become an intern at SharkLab in order to gain even more experience that will help to shape my future as a scientist. 

RYAN CAKE

LIBERTY DENMAN

BEN HANLAN

From: Wakefield, UK​

 
Education/Background: Returning Sharklab volunteer (April-October 2019). Spent time working as a Dive Master in South Africa and interned for various Marine Conservation projects in Indonesia, Peru and South Africa. Previously employed in UK Public Sector in Computing and Electronics.

Reason for coming: 

Like most people who come to the Shark Lab, I've be captivated by sharks ever since I was a child. In later life, I spent my work holidays away volunteering and interning with every shark-related conservation effort I could to build up both practical field experience and for chances to get close to the creatures I’ve admired since childhood.​

The Shark Lab has always been a place I've wanted to visit, due to it's incredible diversity of shark species and for it's world-renowned past and current research on some of my favourite species including Tigers and Hammerheads. Having recently spent 6 months with the Lab, I’m thrilled to be back and to again have the opportunity to work with equally like-minded and passionate individuals to conserve a species I admire so much.

From: New forest, UK

 

Education/background:

I am currently on placement in my third year studying Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology at Plymouth University.

 

Reasons for coming:

Growing up on the South Coast sparked my interest in aquatic life, allowing me to spend endless hours combing the local beach for fossils and sharks’ teeth. I further realised my passion for Marine Biology through free diving and scuba diving that has progressed to my HSE commercial qualification. I spent the summer between college and university volunteering at sharklab-Malta. There I was first properly exposed to all the aspects behind shark research and conservation. During this volunteer position I worked on adding to a 10 year data set on the elasmobranch species landed in the area assessing the overall diversity and decline in adult individuals caught. We also worked alongside Malta National Aquarium educating children from 2-16 years old through talks, dissections and guided snorkels in Golden Bay.
Since studying at Plymouth I have had a growing appreciation for all marine wildlife, but my main interests have remained in macrofauna, specifically sharks. This has led me to my two placement destinations. I have just completed the first 3 months of my placement in South Africa working with Marine Dynamics and the iconic Great White shark. As well as being exposed to a variety of new research techniques I also collected data for my dissertation – working title: A BRUV study assessing how diversity and abundance in sharks and fish has changed over the past three years and if there is an interaction between the two.
Visiting Bimini sharklab has been a long term goal of mine as I have been following the organisation for years and am excited to learn while working with world renowned scientists and sharks!

From: Portsmouth, UK

 
Education/Background:

Biological Sciences (Zoology) at Cardiff University


Reason for coming:

Plants and animals have always been fascinating to me. From I young age I was amazed at the complicated patterns and shapes formed by nature which then not only look beautiful to us but serve a very specific function. 
Then after watching numerous TV documentaries I became aware of the complex, intelligent behaviours of every animal from the smallest gnat to the blue whale.

Unsurprisingly then, I now study Biological Sciences (Zoology) at Cardiff University with a Placement Training Year. With a love of the ocean, I thought Bimini would be an incredible setting to learn about how research projects are carried out in the field, conducted by established PIs whilst gaining a unique insight into elasmobranchs , some of the most highly specialized predators to have swam planet Earth.

KENDRA LUCKOW

From: Vancouver, Canada

 
Education/Background:

I graduated in 2016 as a Registered Veterinary Technologist, I am currently working in marine mammal rescue and medicine.


Reason for coming: 

I grew up on the West coast of Canada, spending as much time on or in the ocean as possible. My love of the ocean and the creatures that live in it has only grown since I was young. Since graduating from college I have been travelling as much as possible, and I obtained my diving certification in Sydney, Australia which was also where I dove with my first shark. Throughout my travels I was also able to work in sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as dive with bull sharks off the coast of Fiji. During my trips I was not only able to see sharks in their natural habitat, but I also experienced the darker side of the shark fishing and finning industry. I have always had an interest and love of sharks, but the need to save them and get involved in conservation really started here. Once home in Canada I worked with my local government on a bylaw proposal that would prohibit the sale and trade of shark fin in my city. This bylaw went through in February of 2019, which was soon followed by the federal law to ban import of shark fin into Canada. The past couple years for me have been very focused on shark conservation and public education, however I do not have a formal background in marine science and I really wanted to come to the shark lab to further my education and knowledge of sharks.

our awesome local volunteers

Every Saturday our local high school volunteers come to the Lab to assist with field work and learn about shark and ray research!

BRIAN ROLLE

From: Bimini

Age: 18 

 
Education/Background: Louise McDonald High School

My time at the Lab: 

I love coming to the Shark Lab every sat and joining the volunteers as a local student. Being at the lab has inspired me to continue my quest for education in the marine biology field and has strengthen my love for the ocean. The lab is a super fun and welcoming place, the staff and all the volunteers are really nice. It has been a dream come true!! 

NARJ ROLLE

From: Bimini

Age: 17 

 
Education/Background: Louise McDonald High School

My time at the Lab
: 

I’ve been having fun from the moment I got here. The Staff and the volunteers have been nothing but nice to me. My first day was what the lab calls a boring day, but for me it was not. I was taught how to handle sharks, caught some sting rays for science, which was extremely fun. They even made me a a birthday cake. The most extremely fun thing I have done with them was met and relax with the crew.  

JADON ROLLE

From: Bimini

Age: 18 

 
Education/Background: Louise McDonald High School

My time at the Lab
: 

For all the times that I have been coming to the shark lab there has never been a dull moment. The crew members/volunteers have been more than good to us. We got to learn a lot about sharks and stingrays. We have got to learn about all the different types of equipment they use in their studies, we even got to chat and meet with all the crew. I am really enjoying myself with all the friends I have made at lab. Im really sad they are going to leave somedays :(

ALVIN THOMPSON

From: Bimini

Age: 18 

 
Education/Background: Louise McDonald High School

My time at the Lab
: 

Today I have been range testing, it was a chill day with the volunteers. It has been a great experience even though it was my first time out in the field. I hope I will have more opportunities to do fun things with my new friends. Ive learned so much and I hope I will continue to learn more while I’m here. 

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