Coastal Carolina University - Field Studies in Shark Biology
The BBFS just finished 2005's extremely successful Field Studies in Shark Biology course from Coastal Carolina University. CCU Professor Dan Abel accompanied sixteen students to Bimini for a week in May for an intensive session of shark biology lectures and field trips. Along with Dr. Abel, professors Dr. R. Dean Grubbs, Dr. Samuel Gruber, and the Sharklab staff provided the students with close-up encounters with 10 species of shark around the island of Bimini. One of the highlights was tagging and swimming with a live Big-eye Sixgill Shark (Hexanchus nakamurai), a first for the CCU course, and for the Sharklab. Other species encountered by the students during the course were Caribbean Reef sharks (C. perezi), Bull sharks (C. leucas), Sharpnose sharks (R. terranovae), Nurse sharks (G. cirratum), Blacktip sharks (C. limbatus), Lemon sharks (N. brevirostris), Blacknose sharks (C. acronotus), and a Smooth-Hound Dogfish (Mustelus sp.).
Katie preparing to release
a 367cm Tiger Shark
Field trips during the course included a snorkel with feeding Caribbean Reef sharks, hand-feeding small juvenile Lemon Sharks in a secluded mangrove pond, swimming with and photographing the sharks released from our longlines, and more. Another first for the BBFS during the course, was setting a deep-water longline for sharks, under the aide of Dr. R. Dean Grubbs. One line, with 20 baited hooks, was set in approximately 700-800 ft of water of South Bimini's western shore. Six sharks were caught, including three Tiger Sharks (G. cuvier) ranging in size from 310 cm, to one which was well over 4 meters (~ 14-15 ft) long.
Big-eye Sixgill Shark
All in all, the course was a huge success and provided fascinating insight & experiences with the sharks of Bimini, both for the students and the course staff members.
The BBFS staff wants to extend a huge 'Thanks' to all the students, guests, and especially to Dan Abel and Dean Grubbs for making this years course the 'best ever'.
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