INSIDE THE SHARKLAB
The Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation (Sharklab) was founded in 1990 by Dr. Gruber on the island of South Bimini, Bahamas. Over the years there have been several changes to the facilities since the Sharklab's inception in 1990.
Our facility is designed to function as a “research vessel” on land. In this sense we are self-contained, self-sufficient, and conservation oriented.
The lab facility itself is a small wood-framed house located on the south shore of the island. It sits on a small parcel of land with a beach to the south and our small marina to the north. The structure contains living quarters as well as space for dining and of course conducting research. For the comfort of the crew the lab is centrally cooled and heated, when necessary.
The Sharklab can sleep up to 21 personnel consisting of a mixture of staff and volunteers. The crew are divided up into 5 “state rooms” Each of these rooms contains two bunks, with the staff room also having a futon. Within each room are many shelves and hooks for clothing, toiletries, and storage of personal items. Each room is also equipped with a personal sink.
The lab has two bathrooms or “heads” both of which contain sink, shower, toilet, and shelf storage for towels and various supplies. Bathroom one contains the lab's washing machine.
Although small, the kitchen and dining area are fully equipped with food, dishes, appliances and storage. The kitchen has one large refrigerator and a smaller refrigerator for personal food items. The dining area has two dining tables for meal times or meetings. In the dining area there is also one of our food storage freezers. The lab's main VHF radio is also located in the dining room.
Adjacent to the dining area is our tool room. This room is well stocked with tools, parts, and supplies necessary to maintain the vehicles, pumps, etc. that are essential for the lab research to run smoothly.
The lab's main hallway is adorned with hundreds of photos that have been taken by BBFSF staff and volunteers over the years. This area also houses an extensive collection of DVD's, books, and games as well as some additional storage for food. We also have our science cabinet here.
The last focal point of the Sharklab is the actual lab room. This room contains most of our scientific and research equipment. The lab is our main work area for research and data entry/analysis. During university courses it serves as a lecture area with a screen for projecting presentations. Our two other food storage freezers as well as our bait freezer are also located in this room.
OUTSIDE THE SHARKLAB
At the Sharklab we also have three smaller aluminum storage structures that are attached to the main station. These contain various field equipment (gill nets, seines, long line gear etc.) and supplies. .
On the south side of the Sharklab there is an extension of the main structure. This is the 'desal' shed. The lab's desalinator, from which we make all of our drinking water, is housed within it. In addition to the desalinator there are also generators, pumps, and other work equipment.
On the south side of the property we have a clothesline and gillnet repair posts. The Sharklab has a small garden for growing some vegetables as well as palms that we plant around the property.
We also have a fuel shed for storing our extra gas for the boats.
Our dock is U-shaped with two walkways. The dock has two tables for the preparation of bait used for feeding and catching sharks. Attached to one of the bait tables is a salt water hose. Recently we have added two flow through aquariums for the husbandry of specimens during university courses.
Scattered around the Sharklab yard are leads with kennels for our lab dogs. We also have a large terrarium in which we house Bimini Boas throughout the year for educational purposes.
Our boats are critical to our research here at the Sharklab. The fleet consists of 9 research vessels ranging in size from 16 to 22 feet. We have 5 Sundance skiffs: two, 17' models powered by 50 HP Mercury outboards, and three, 16' models with 40 HP Mercury outboards. The Sharklab's four larger boats are two, 20' center-console, bay boats from Sundance, one 22' Tri-hull centre console, and one, 22' Twin Vee Catarmaran. All three of these vessels have Mercury 115 HP outboards.
The Sharklab's land-based vehicles are our 1996 Toyota 4runner, and a 2001 Ford F150. These vehicles are used for work related activities such as fuel and water purchases and transporting people and supplies to and from the airport.