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February 2022 Update

Written by Baylie Fadool

Feb 22, 2022

Hearts and Sharks - a busy February at the Shark Lab!

Welcome back! We have been quite busy this month! It consisted of heart-shaped foods, a visit from Save Our Seas Foundation’s Grant Programme Manager, a Super Bowl party, and three new additions to our station crew. Read to find out more below!

Congrats to three of our newest station crew members! Sophia Gunther, Alina Hussey, and Ilijah Louis will be joining us as station assistants. This consists of leading teams in the field while also helping keep the station running smoothly!

Current Projects

Some of our station crew are currently working on research projects with old datasets. Sophia Gunther and Alina Hussey are looking at historical BRUVS (baited remote underwater video surveys) from the lab to assess the populations and health of species around various areas in Bimini. BRUVS include deploying a metal frame with a bait crate and a camera attached to it to record the species that show up for a soak time of around an hour. They are currently going through all this footage to determine the community structure of different sites.

Kylie Bostick (station assistant) and Baylie Fadool (media manager) are looking at historical data from nurse sharks caught at the lab to determine their growth rates and sex ratios in Bimini. Even though we see nurse sharks from all sizes around Bimini, we do not know much about them. This analysis aims to close some of these gaps in Bimini. Bostick and Fadool are currently in the data analysis stage and looking at some of the average sizes of nurse sharks caught using each shark fishing method we conduct at the lab.

New Instagram LIVE Series

We have started a new Instagram LIVE series, called Shark Hour, to bring more of the Shark Lab to you and our followers. It is hosted by our Media Manager, Baylie Fadool, as she interviews various people past and present from the lab and in the shark community to hear all about their research and experiences. It happens every Thursday night at 7 PM ET. The first one was on January 27th with Shark Lab President, Matt Smukall, and included everything from his current research and position to his first time coming to the lab as a volunteer. The three LIVEs after this one were with Paddy Burke, a previous Masters student and Outreach Coordinator at the lab, our three station assistants, and Jillian Morris, Founder and President of Sharks4Kids. Even if you are not able to watch the LIVE at the designated time, each one is archived and saved on our Instagram page to watch whenever you are able.

Visit from Save Our Seas Foundation

Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) funds projects all over the world to help increase protection and understanding of our world’s oceans. We are so grateful to SOSF for being one of our supporters. During this month, we were visited by SOSF’s Grant Programme Manager, Sandrine Griffiths. She came and saw the station, ate with us, and got to spend a day out on the water with us. We took her to see Caribbean reef sharks, Southern stingrays, juvenile lemon sharks, and blacktip sharks.

First Field Expedition of the Year!

We welcomed our first Field Expedition (FE) group of the year February 15-19th! We typically run about 8-9 of these throughout the year. The time of year that the guests come determine what activities they could partake in. The winter FEs have the chance to do a great hammerhead snorkel and bull shark cage dive since these sharks are in Bimini during the winter months. Some activities typical of every FE include feeding Southern stingrays at Honeymoon Harbor, snorkeling with Caribbean reef sharks, standing in waist-deep water with baby lemon sharks, and exploring the Sapona shipwreck artificial reef. We had 8 guests during this February FE and had so much fun with them. Their favorite activity was snorkeling with Caribbean reef sharks. We are looking forward to our next FE at the end of March!

We have so much more planned in March, too, with a course and another Field Expedition. We are excited to share it all with you next month!

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