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March 2023 Update

Words and photos by Baylie Fadool

Mar 31, 2023

In March, the Lab was filled with guests from near and far! Find out more by reading below!

Field Expedition

We kicked off the month by welcoming a Field Expedition group. Field Expeditions provide an opportunity for shark enthusiasts and any interested individuals and families to come and experience Bimini for a week with the Bimini Shark Lab. Diving with sharks and snorkeling among different underwater habitats are paired with presentations from our crew members that are actively working in the field of shark science. We were so grateful to welcome such an enthusiastic and passionate group. They got to have some of the best field experiences that any group has ever had. Some of the marine creatures that the group got to observe were great hammerheads, dolphins, and… A SMALLTOOTH SAWFISH! Encounters with smalltooth sawfish are rare for people who have spent time in Bimini for years, so it was an extremely special moment that I’m sure the guests will carry with them forever. 

University Courses New and Familiar!

Our founder, Doc Gruber, did his graduate studies and worked for the University of Miami. The Shark Lab used to be in affiliation with this university but is now its own 501(c)3 nonprofit. Because of this, the University of Miami used to come to the Shark Lab for courses but has not been back to the lab for a while. We were able to welcome them back this month for a graduate student spring break course focused on Tropical Marine Biology led by Dr. Dean Grubbs and Dr. Evan D’Alessandro. It is an intensive but fun week filled with daily lectures and then opportunities to apply what they have learned in the classroom into the field. They learn about different species and their scientific names in the classroom and then experience them in their natural habitat. 

Eckerd College came for their second out of three visits throughout the year during this month. Dr. Jorge Angulo-Valdes led the marine science course for the first time. Eckerd College requires that their students travel abroad at some time during their undergraduate studies which is part of the reason that the college offers so many trips to Bimini. They do not only provide this opportunity to upperclassmen, but they also provide a trip to Bimini just for freshmen. The trip this month consisted mostly of third and fourth-year students that were further along in their careers. Pictured below are some of the highlights from the week.

Vet Clinic

Our first vet clinic of the year took place at the beginning of this month. Bimini does not have a veterinarian on the island, so Dr. Valentino Grant from Caves Village Vet in Nassau flies to Bimini ~ 6 times out of the year to help spay and neuter wild cats on the island. Bimini has a large wild cat population that is harmful to the endemic wildlife, such as the Bimini boa, so controlling their population is important for preserving Bimini’s fauna. Our team goes out and traps cats around the island the night before the clinic and brings them back to the Shark Lab where the cats are spayed and neutered. Dr. Grant spends about a day on South Bimini at the Shark Lab and then heads to North Bimini the following day where many of our crew members also help assist with this. We are always looking to help adopt cats and dogs from the island, so if you or someone you know is interested, feel free to reach out to us or Island Paws Rescue.

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