From: Telford, Pennsylvania
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.
Reasons 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.
From: Caledon, Canada
Bachelors of Science with a major in Biology from Brock University, Canada . Masters of Environmental Science with a discipline in Global Environmental Change from Ca’ Foscari – University of Venice, Italy
Reasons for coming:
I am volunteering at the Bimini Shark Lab because I think getting hands on experience with research and the conservation of sharks is extremely valuable to move forward in my career. Being here will also give me an opportunity to understand which avenue of research I would like to pursue.
I have always loved science and anything related to environmental sustainability. When I was very young, I even started a petition in my elementary school to “Save the Sharks”. This is when realized that spending my time on conservation efforts was the best thing for me.
I spent my undergrad mostly studying botany and entomology and realized very quickly after attending a field course for aquatic insects in Algonquin Park, Canada that hands on experience is something I enjoy and worth a lot to me.
I completed my Masters in Venice, Italy where I studied Global Environmental Change. In the end, my thesis was on the spatial distribution of Mediterranean shark species, mapping their past and future.
From: From: Rutherford, New Jersey
Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). Planning on pursuing a PhD in the near future.
Reasons for coming:
At a young age, I was taught the importance of the ocean and to appreciate wildlife. Despite being from a small town outside New York City, I have spent most of my life on the ocean in Seaside Park, New Jersey. With this, I developed a strong passion for shark conservation and plans to pursue a career in marine biology. I have always been captivated by sharks and their vital role in the marine ecosystem. During my time at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), where I was a teaching assistant in the ichthyology laboratory, I completed an individual research project studying the life history characteristics of spiny dogfish sharks. I also spent time studying in Belize where I gained experience exploring and researching the different marine ecosystems on Turneffe Island. After my time there, I designed a research project comparing the fish diversity within the different reef ecosystems. As a senior in college, I worked as an intern in a sea turtle hospital where I assisted in the mass recovery of over 100 sick, injured, and cold-stunned sea turtles. Since graduating, I have continued to pursue a career studying elasmobranchs as well as the different anthropogenic effects they encounter. Gaining more knowledge in understanding shark behavior through my own research project, working alongside Clemency White, as well as other members of the BBFSF, will be invaluable to my career and my education.
From: Greenwich, CT
Education/Background: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies at Santa Clara University [Expected graduation: March 2021]; The School for Field Studies, Turks and Caicos [Fall 2019]
Reasons for coming:
Since a young age, I have been fascinated by the ocean and the plethora of creatures which thrive throughout it. However, growing up in the state of Connecticut, I was never able to fulfill my interest in ocean conservation and exploration. During the end of my high school career, I took my first marine biology class where I instantly developed a strong affinity for sharks. I spent much of my free time reading and learning about sharks, hoping that I could one day help protect them. During my undergraduate experience, I was involved in research and field work, yet all of my research relating to sharks was completed solely through my computer screen. My aquatic research experience extends to the Turks and Caicos Islands, where I completed a research project in the Winter of 2019 to understand changing Lobatus gigas (queen conch) density and population within the East Harbor Lobster and Conch Reserve, as well as their species habitat and depth preferences. Additionally, I have terrestrial research experience, as in the summer of 2018, I spent my time at the Estación Biológica de La Suerte, located in Limón, Costa Rica. During my time at Estación Biológica de La Suerte, I spent time in the field collecting data on the social behavior of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi).
When I first decided to apply to the Bimini Shark Lab, I was excited to fulfill my dream and I knew it would be the perfect place for me to expand my knowledge on shark research and conservation. I am looking forward to immersing myself in the field and gaining the necessary skills that will aid me in my plan to apply for a masters degree. In the future I hope to combine my knowledge of field research, policy, management, and conservation to better protect shark populations across the world.
From: Milwaukee, WI, USA
BSc in Biological Sciences, minors in French and Conservation and Environmental Sciences (CES) from University of WI-Milwaukee (completed May, 2019)
Aquarium Intern – Discovery World (Summer 2019)
Reasons for coming:
Despite growing up in the Midwest, during my early childhood, I developed a deep fascination with sharks (and I never grew out of it)! Throughout college, I worked as a fish husbandry technician in an environmental toxicology laboratory at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences. While I enjoyed my time in the lab, I always knew I wanted to work with sharks. I am especially excited to be working with BBFSF because the Sharklab’s mission values coincide with my own passion for bridging the communication gap between the scientific community and the general public. In addition to my regular volunteer work, I will be working under PhD candidate Vital Heim to complete an independent research project. My research interests include but are not limited to elasmobranch conservation, bycatch minimization, endangered species protection, sustainable natural resources management, and community-based climate solutions. Small coastal and island communities rely heavily on healthy oceans and often contribute little to climate change, but experience its negative effects, nonetheless. This issue is close to my heart as a Puerto Rican woman, having watched multiple hurricanes devastate the island just over the last few years. Throughout my career, I would like to find new ways to involve small, coastal communities in every step of the scientific process. Additionally, I would like to use my platform as a scientist to advocate for every community’s right to self-determination, while helping individual communities design and implement resource management strategies that will benefit both the local economy and the surrounding marine ecosystems. Having grown up in a major US city, I have seen firsthand the inequities in the opportunities and resources available to individuals experiencing poverty, racism, misogyny, and other forms of systemic oppression. In addition to my own contributions to science, over the entire course of my career, I hope to dedicate significant energy toward helping create research opportunities for marginalized groups around the world who are interested, but often underrepresented, in marine science.
From: Denver, Colorado
I graduated from Kent Denver School in 2020 (Experimental Research Institute). Beginning in January, I will pursue a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis on Organismal Biology and Ecology at Colorado College.
Independent research on zooxanthellae of Euphyllia divisa (2018-2020) and on affects of microplastic pollution in the South Platte River on Salmo trutta (2019-2020)
Independent study courses: "Evolutionary Developmental Biology of Marine Life," "Shark Ecology," "Marine Taxonomy,” "Ocean Problems and Policies: Protecting Oceans Today," and "Marine Ecosystems."
Reasons for coming:
Despite growing up in landlocked Colorado, I have been fascinated with the mystery and beauty of the ocean since I was a small child. As a No2Plastic ambassador and a former Inland Ocean Coalition intern, I have been working to support marine conservation through policy, education, and outreach surrounding single use plastics. After volunteering with the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme in 2018 and being a research expedition team member in 2019, I found a particular love of sharks. During this uncertain time, I decided to postpone college to gain more field and research experience at The Shark Lab, which will be invaluable to my career and education.