From: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
Education/Background: BSc in Marine & Freshwater Biology from the University of Guelph in Guelph, ON (2019). Aquatic Science Technician with Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada (2019 & 2020).
Reasons for coming: I've always wanted to work with sharks in a hands-on setting, to whatever extent I could find. My fascination with sharks and their kin is most prominent in the contexts of evolution, ecology, and animal behaviour. Most of my childhood & adolescence was spent next to the Great Lakes, where I grew an appreciation to forests and aquatic ecosystems. With my upbringing and passion for aquatic life, I pursued an education through the University of Guelph in the Marine & Freshwater Biology program. Upon completion, I worked seasonal positions with the Sea Lamprey Control Program for the Canadian federal government. Despite an active and fulfilling work environment in nature, I knew I needed to expand my experience should I ever want to achieve a career involving the interaction of sharks or other marine megafauna. Thus, the Bimini Biological Field Station piqued my interest. With most of my skills consisting of freshwater environments & wildlife, becoming an intern at the BBFS would be an immense step forward in testing my skills in an unfamiliar environment, while also learning, first-hand, new skills regarding methodologies in shark science. I knew my time and experience at the BBFS would be beneficial towards my goals, either through pursuing higher education or careers in the field of marine biology. It's an immense bonus to know this experience would also hone my interpersonal skills and allow me to grow relationships with like-minded, passionate individuals in this incredible field.
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!
From: Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA.
Education/Background: BSc in Fisheries and Wildlife, minor in Marine Ecosystem Management from Michigan State University (2020). Former Intern (2018) and Research Technician (2019) at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. I will be pursuing a master’s in Marine Science at Jacksonville University this upcoming fall.
Reasons for coming: I’ve had a fascination with the water for as long as I can remember coming from my time growing up in Michigan. I would always be outside exploring the numerous bodies of water Michigan has to offer. Additionally, I was, and still am, a shark week addict and was always excited to see what was next each year. Taking this curiosity to Michigan State, I became involved in the marine science courses which ultimately led me to an internship with the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI). While at CEI, I focused primarily on learning the basics of fieldwork in marine science. The major projects I was involved with investigated the pelagic zone, particularly fish aggregation devices and silky shark telemetry. I later returned to CEI during the summer as a research technician where I cemented my career choice. I have always wanted to be a part of the Bimini Biological Field Station (BBFS) because of its amazing reputation, cutting-edge science, and its focus on a wide variety of elasmobranchs. The BBFS allows aspiring marine scientists to focus on all aspects of elasmobranch research, which is crucial to successful and impactful science in future career avenues. For my career interests, being at the Shark Lab is the best possible place to be. Being at the BBFS will allow me to strengthen my experience and continue to learn and grow before pursuing higher education.
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!