Words & Photos by Baylie Fadool
Sep 30, 2022
September tends to be one of our slower months as we have to be on the lookout for tropical storms and hurricanes. There was no slowing down for us, though, as we kept plenty busy here at the station. Read below to hear all about our month!
Our hearts and thoughts go out to the areas and communities affected by Hurricane Ian. In Bimini, we stayed safe with just heavy rains and a few days of storms. We track hurricanes as they are developing in order to prepare our property for the storms coming. This involves yard cleanup, adding extra lines to our boats, and running pumps from under our lab to the ocean to reduce flooding. The renovations that the lab has undergone include storm shutters, a hurricane-proof roof, and gutters that run into cisterns to collect rainwater to use as freshwater for the lab. Because of these renovations, the lab is better designed for a hurricane and strong storms than previously.
We started out the month connecting with the community through another BBQ. We had about 10-15 people come for ribs, chicken wings, and lobster mac and cheese to watch American college football on our TV in the main area. The BBQ was followed by a vet clinic to spay and neuter the wild cats on the island. Most of the cats captured during this clinic were younger cats that had likely not had a first litter, which will keep the wild cat population numbers down for years to come. We are thankful to Dr. Grant and his assistants from Caves Village Veterinary Hospital for generously donating their time to helping out the island.
In the middle of the month, Station Manager Jasmine Nyce and Station Assistant Kylie Bostick, got to attend an elasmobranch ultrasound workshop. The workshop was led by Dr. Natalie Mylniczenko and was also attended by students from Florida State University. They learned how ultrasounds work and did different exercises to learn how to operate the machine. The exercises involved trying to find objects inside a Jell-O mold and ultrasounding elasmobranch cadavers to analyze their internal anatomy and assess whether the organism was pregnant. Ultrasounds on elasmobranchs are useful for many different scientific purposes. By finding out if a female is pregnant, it can help determine that the location could be a pupping and birthing area. It can also help assess the health of an animal by examining its internal organs. Thank you again to Dr. Mylniczenko for this amazing opportunity!
The Shark Lab started fostering three kittens that were surrendered to us late one night. They are the sweetest little male tabby cats, two orange and one gray. Their names are Pumpkin, Ret, and Toulouse. Pumpkin is the smallest of the bunch, the biggest cuddler, and the most adventurous. Ret is short for smooth endoplasmic reticulum and is a very independent kitten. Toulouse is the most charismatic and playful and looks after his other two brothers. They have all found homes and will be heading to them in October. We have had so much fun looking after these three sweethearts!
Saying Goodbye to Sophia and Hello to Courtney
Station Assistant Sophia Gunther left us at the end of this month. We will miss her enthusiasm, love of all marine life, and positivity. Another crew member, Courtney Shea, arrived at the end of the month to join the lab. We are excited to get to know her more and so happy for her to join us. Check out her bio in the About Us section on our website!