Written by Baylie Fadool and Sophia Emmons
Jan 16, 2022
Welcome to our Exclusive Shark Lab Membership Updates!
Welcome to Our Member’s Newsletter!
Welcome to the new monthly newsletter exclusively designed for our monthly subscription members! Contained in these newsletters will be inside access into what we have been doing every month and what life at the Lab is like. You will be the first to know the strides we have been making in our research and conservation efforts, the diving activities and wildlife sightings we partake in, insight into our internships, and information about the groups we bring in. As a research station designed to spread our findings and activities with a larger audience, we are so excited to be sharing our message in this new format. Thank you so much for your support of the Lab and being a loyal member, as it allows us to do many of the things outlined throughout this newsletter!
Every year of the Lab brings lots of new shark and diving adventures, and last year was no exception. Blacktip sharks are usually very skittish, but throughout the year, we kept returning to a spot where we could reliably dive with many of them. This diving activity was also paired with a place to see a lot of juvenile lemon sharks. These two special locations provided us new opportunities to encounter more sharks up close, and take groups of interns and guests to enjoy.
Thanks to your continued support, we were able to carry on with our research projects and begin some new ones. We did some shark workups to continue looking at the health and movements of many of Bimini’s elasmobranchs, and using BRUVS, which are underwater frames that hold a camera and bait, we will be able to start better assessing the community dynamics in different locations around Bimini.
Welcome back, we’ve missed you! After more than a year, we finally opened our doors to Field Expedition (formerly known as Research Experience) guests! We had a blast with everyone, including the Coastal Carolina University Shark Club and the Dive Ninjas! The Dive Ninjas were part of a new type of collaboration that had them visit with us for an abbreviated FE then head over to Neal Watson’s SCUBA Center to do some great hammerhead and Caribbean reef shark dives. We’re excited to make this new relationship annual! University courses were able to resume, and we brought our first one back at the end of October from Florida Southern College. And after much rescheduling, we finally brought a Naturalist Course back to Bimini in November led, as usual, by Dr. Dean Grubbs. It was also Dean’s first time seeing the new renovations in the Lab! He was particularly impressed by the new bunk beds that are not from World War II. Having groups at the Lab is something we missed so much, so we are so happy that we have been able to start welcoming people back in.
We welcomed 21 interns and 3 project students this year. A few of them are now part of our staff team in many different roles. The interns we brought in this year got to participate in many shark dives while also learning important skills for the field. Learning to operate small skiffs and fishing techniques are among these important field skills. A different opportunity that the Shark Lab provides is for our interns to learn many well-rounded and real-world skills as well.
The Lab is still undergoing some construction, and our interns helped assist us with a lot of these projects, such as adding a new roof and building a new fuel shed. The three project students we had worked on projects ranging from habitat use of Southern stingrays to effects of anthropogenic change on lemon sharks. Project students range from students completing their Master’s degree to students not currently in a program but wanting to gain a publication before pursuing higher education.