The Sharklab hosted an open day with students from Louise McDonald High School on North Bimini. 27 students aged between 14 and 18 came down to the lab to learn more about the fauna of Bimini. Talks on sharks, conch, lobster, the Bimini boa, mangroves, stingrays and lionfish were both exciting and educational. Students swam with lemon sharks, held nurse sharks, hand fed stingrays as well as holding a rare Bimini Boa.
We hope to make this the first of many many more!
September 8th - Success for the Second Wild Shark Accelerometer Deployments
At the end of the last month eight more accelerometers were simultaneously deployed on juvenile lemon sharks. Seven accelerometers were attached to juveniles sized between 75 and 90 cm for Lauran's project, whilst the last was placed on a 105 cm for Rob's project. Fingers and toes were crossed for the recapture six days later with the probability of recapturing all eight sharks fairly low. However, after the first day five sharks were caught and accelerometers safely removed, including from the largest and potentially most difficult to catch. On the second day the last three juveniles were caught via a combination of active tracking and rapid gillnet sets. The data gained from these accelerometers is just the beginning of what is set to be an exciting and groundbreaking study examining the behaviour and energetics of these sharks.
August 23rd, 2012- University of Minnesota Marine Biology Course
The Sharklab recently welcomed fourteen students for the annual University of Minnesota marine biology field course. Professor Peter Sorensen (UMinn) & Dr Dean Grubbs (FSU) lead the course examining various aspects of the tropical marine biology and ecology of the waters surrounding the islands of Bimini. The highlight of the course was catching a 283 cm tiger shark on a deep line in 700 feet of water on the west side of Bimini. Thanks to all of the students, volunteers and staff for making it a great course for everyone involved.
August 22nd, 2012- First Wild Shark Accelerometer Deployments
Over this past month the first wild shark accelerometer deployments occurred up in Aya's spot (an area amongst the mangroves north of Bonefish hole) for Lauran and Rob's project. A full capture of the juvenile lemon sharks took place which totaled 39. Sharks of the correct size were color tagged and then observed from the towers to make sure they were consistently using the area. On the 28th of July four of the color coded sharks were caught and were fixed with accelerometers and coupled with acoustic transmitters which were attached to the base of the dorsal fin. 24 hours later the accelerometers started recording data in three axis as well as the temperature and depth. Over the following four days crews tracked the sharks acoustically night and day! After this four day period the memory on the accelerometers was full and on the 4th of August all four were recaptured and the accelerometers were recovered!
August 13th, 2012- The Lab says Goodbye to Lab Manager Emily Marcus
Emily first came to the lab as a course student with CCU and then came back to volunteer in 2006. Not long after she was offered the Assistant Manager Position, and then became Lab Manager in 2009. "Nurse Emily" or "Doctor Emily" were common nicknames for her as she was the go to person for any injuries and made sure you kept your wound clean and dry! She always kept the lab organized and running smoothly. With 6 consecutive years and 7 PITs under her belt she felt it was time to move on. We wish you the best in the next step of your life Em! Come back and visit us soon!
August 7th, 2012- Welcome back Jill Brooks and CJ Crooks
This past month we were able to welcome back Jill Brooks and CJ Crooks to the Sharklab staff. Jill was the former Assistant Lab Manager for two years and CJ was an undergraduate project student for 11 months. While away from the lab CJ returned to the University of Manchester to complete his honors Zoology BSc with the project title: Non-consumptive predator effects on nursery habitat use in juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris). Jill moved to a ski resort in the Canadian Rockies where she worked for Air Canada as a Customer service agent. Now, CJ will be Assistant Lab Manager under Michael, and Jill will be the new Lab Manager taking Emily's place. Both are excited to be back amongst the sharks, and the Lab is excited to have them back!
July 22nd, 2012- Spear Wars: Big Bang Open bait collection
This past Sunday the Sharklab was up in West Palm Beach at the Big Bang Open fish weigh in. The Big Bang Open is a spear fishing tournament over the weekend where spearers can shoot either on the East or West coast of Florida and bring in what they shot to be weighed and see who shot the largest fish. They had specific categories for what kinds of fish you could take and one of the allowed fish was Barracuda and Jacks. They are not a food fish typically eaten in Florida so the Sharklab went up to collect any donations for bait to be used at the lab for our long lining and shark dives. In total we collected 10 Jacks, and 27 barracuda! Many thanks to the spear fishermen for the generous donations and to Tony Grogan for organizing the event and allowing us to come up to collect!
July 16th, 2012- Second Annual Lionfish Bash!
This year the sharklab competed again in the second annual Lionfish Bash held by Bimini Sands
They received second place by catching 64 Lionfish. Another boat took first with 143 Lionfish! Sharklab did get a trophy for smallest Lionfish caught by Lab Manager Emily Marcus. It weighed only .05 oz.
The largest Lionfish went to David Mills and was a whopping 35 ounces.
Congratulations guys and thanks for catching all those Lionfish!
May 31st , 2012 - PIT is Upon Us Again!
With our 2012 University of New Brunswick and Coastal Carolina University courses in the books, once again it is time for our annual tagging of the juvenile lemon sharks, also known as our PIT project. Check out our PIT website for updates! (Photo by Matthew D. Potenski)
April 19th , 2012 - The Lab Hosts a BBC Film Crew for Discovery Channel's Shark Week
Sharklab hosted the BBC film crew making a documentary for Discovery Channel's Shark week. It will feature Bimini's unique shark sanctuary and MPA. Look for the show "How Jaws Changed the World" this summer on Sharkweek!
March 26st, 2012 - The Lab Says Goodbye To Lab Manager Jim Barley
Jim first came to the lab as a course student with Coastal Carolina University and then in February 2008-March 2008 as a volunteer and was offered the Assistant Lab Manager position from April 2008 to July 2010. He then was offered the Manager position from August 2010 until March 2012. He participated in 3 Marquesas trips and 4 PITs in that time as well as keeping the Lab and Boats in working order. He also was our videographer for several film crews and college courses. We are going to miss you dearly Jim! Come see us again soon!
February 17th, 2012- Say Hello to Our New Principal Investigators!
Over the past 2 months our 3 new Principal Investigators have arrived at the lab. Lauran Brewster, Rob Bullock, and Jean Sebastien Finger will be here over the next 3 years conducting their research. Click on their names above and check out their staff profile pages for more information on what their projects are!
December 11th, 2011 - Social Media Outlets for the Lab
The Shark lab now has a Twitter page: @BiminiSharkLab. It is also linked to our facebook page: www.facebook.com/bbfs.sharklab. We want to keep everyone updated on what is going on at the lab as well as events and fundraising opportunities that occur.
November 16th, 2011 - The lab says goodbye to Principal Investigator Kristine Stump and Assistant Lab Manager Tyler Clavelle
Kristine Stump has concluded her data collection for her PhD thesis after 3 years of research in Bimini. Kristine came onboard in October of 2008 as the lone principal investigator studying the effects of nursery habitat loss on the juvenile lemon sharks. She has returned to just across the Gulf Stream to the University of Miami in Florida to write up her dissertation.
Tyler Clavelle has been Assistant manager at the lab since June of 2010 where he participated in the Marquesas Keys Lemon Shark Census Project, PIT 2011, the Jupiter Florida survey this past summer, and was a field assistant for Shark Defense chemical repellents. He has helped keep the boats for the lab in working order, and assisted with the installation of the new roof for the lab this past spring. He leaves the lab to begin the graduate school application process.
We wish the best to both Kristine and Tyler in their future endeavors and hope to see them again soon!
November 16th, 2011 - Tiger and Hammerhead Sharks Protected in Florida Waters
On Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in the first day of their 2 day meeting in Key Largo moved to prohibit the harvest of Tiger sharks, Great hammerheads, Smooth hammerheads, and Scalloped hammerheads from state waters. These measures also prohibit the possession, sale, and exchange of these species. These sharks can still be caught and released in state waters, so the FWC is working on a campaign to better educate people on the fishing and handling techniques that will increase the survival rate of sharks that are caught and released. This will go into effect starting January 1st, 2012. For more information on the regulations of shark fishing in Florida waters visit: http://www.myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/regulations/sharks/
October 1st, 2011 - Sharklab Helps Build Porgy Bay Park
Lanny and Dan plan a palm tree
On October 1st, the Sharklab team went up to North Bimini and helped build the new Porgy Bay Park. Commissioned by the Bimini Tourism Advisory Board, the new park is located on the edge of the lagoon at the south end of Porgy Bay. Arriving early in the morning, volunteers from across the community and representing Biminites, bone fisherman, Bimini Sands, The Bimini Quebec Project, Bimini Bay and the Sharklab gathered to make the park a reality.
The Sharklab team with our friends Katie and Grant of Bimini Sands
A swing set (complete with a tire swing), see-saw, pull-up bars, picnic tables, balance beam, and gazebo were all constructed and painted with donated materials. Trash and invasive plants were removed and replaced with coconut palms and other native species. Lab Manager Emily Marcus helped put on the finishing touches by hand painting the sign for the new park!
September 29th, 2011 -Help Fund the Sharklab While You Shop!
With the holiday season approaching, the Sharklab would like to invite anyone planning on doing some online shopping to do so through the fundraising website http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/bbfs By clicking on the preceding link and setting up an account, all purchases made through cooperating retailers will generate a donation to the Bimini Biological Field Station at no extra cost!
July 28th, 2011 - Sharklab Says Goodbye to Dr. Bryan Franks
Dr. Franks with a large lemon shark
The Sharklab is sad to announce that, after three and a half years, managing director Dr. Bryan Franks will be leaving to accept a faculty position at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Dr. Franks originally came to the Sharklab as a volunteer in November of 2002 before serving as Principal Investigator from 2003-2005. As P.I., Bryan spent three years at the lab investigating the spatial ecology and resource selection of juvenile lemon sharks. Then, in January of 2008, Bryan returned and has since served as the lab’s managing director. Though we are sad to see him leave, the Sharklab is excited for Dr. Franks and wishes him the best of luck in his new position as visiting assistant professor in the biology department at Rollins College.
July 9th, 2011 - Lionfish Bash Update: Sharklab Wins!
Jim, Lindsay, Steph, Tyler, Emily, and CJ with the trophy
The Sharklab is proud to report that our team took home first place at the recent Bimini Sands Lionfish Bash! It was a long and tiring day against good competition, but, in the end, our 153 lionfish were enough to win. Additionally, lab manager Jim Barley won the prize for largest lionfish after spearing a whopping 31.3 oz specimen.
In total, the competition removed 318 invasive lionfish from Bimini’s reefs and wrecks, and raised over $15,000 for the Woody Foundation’s charity of choice, The Jackson Memorial Paramedical Trust. The Sharklab would like to thank Bimini Sands for hosting such a great event!
July 5th, 2011 - THE BAHAMAS BECOME PERMANENT SHARK SANCTUARY!!!!
Members of BNT and PEW observe the amendment to the Fisheries Act signed by the Bahamas Government
On July 5, 2011 the Bahamian government signed an amendment to the country’s Fisheries Resources Act prohibiting the commercial fishing of sharks, providing permanent protection for the more than forty species of sharks in the Bahamas! In addition, the new laws prevent the import, export, or sale of all shark products. The new legislation, which protects sharks within the entire 250,000 square miles of the archipelago nation, is the biggest victory for Bahamian sharks since 1993’s landmark ban on long ling fishing.
The Sharklab is very proud to have assisted the collaborative efforts of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and the Pew Environment Group, whose popular public service announcements and supportive petition (5,000 Bahamian signatures) were paramount in gathering support for the new legislation.
July 8 - 10th, 2011 - Bimini Sands' 2011 Lionfish Bash: Helping a Good Cause
On July 9th, a team from the Sharklab will compete in Bimini Sands Resort and Marina’s 2011 Lionfish Bash. The Lionfish Bash, intended as a friendly spearfishing event to help protect Bimini’s reefs from the invasive predator, is more than just a tournament. All proceeds from the Bash will be donated to The Jackson Memorial Paramedical Trust, a charity chosen by Woody Beckham and his family. The Beckham’s are condo owners at Bimini Sands who recently saw their son Woody paralyzed from the chest down in a tragic rugby accident. To learn more about the tournament and contact Bimini Sands, who are accepting donations on Woody’s behalf, click on the above photo.
June 26 - July 4th, 2011 - Inaugural Florida State University Shark Biology Course
2011 FSU Shark Biology Course Group in Aya's Spot
The Sharklab recently welcomed, for the inaugural year, a shark biology course from Florida State University. The course, entitled “From Corals to Sharks: Tropical Marine Biology in the Bahamas”, was led by Sharklab veteran and FSU research biologist Dr. Dean Grubbs. After spending a week focusing on general marine biology at the Cape Eleuthra Institute in Eleuthra, Bahamas, the students joined the Sharklab to learn about sharks and their relatives. The eight-day, field intensive course consisted of lectures by Dr. Grubbs, followed immediately by a variety of excursions which allowed the students to encounter their study subjects first-hand. Field trips, to name a few, included shark dives, mangrove nursery tours, long-lining, and gillnetting; allowing the students to encounter nearly all the sharks Bimini has to offer! The Sharklab would like to thank Dr. Grubbs, Cheston, and all our great volunteers for their hard work. We hope Nikkie, Kelly, Alexa, Kyra, Alecia, Lindsey, Patricia, Chelsea, Corine, Tyler, Andrew, and Kali enjoyed their stay!
May 26 - June 13th, 2011 - PIT 2011!
Kristine with a North Sound shark
Well, it's official, PIT 2011 is in the books. The past three weeks have seen a lot of action, including 209 sharks, one shark bite, 110 stomach eversions, two island forest fires, a Brazilian film team, crazy costumes, and of course, very little sleep. Despite being windy, the weather cooperated very well and 2011 was the first PIT in recent memory without a single rainstorm!
This year we are collecting two new important types of data – isotope samples and blood samples – which will provide us with even more information about the early life history of Bimini’s lemon shark population.
While the data is still being analyzed, here are some preliminary numbers from this year’s catch,
209 total captures - (117 Sharkland / 92 North Sound)
Stay tuned for a comprehensive summary of this year’s PIT results.
May 14-20th, 2011 - Coastal Carolina University Shark Biology Course
2011 CCU Crew
Joining us once again here at the lab, Coastal Carolina University (CCU) brought a group of seventeen students to Bimini for a field-intensive course on the biology of sharks and their relatives. Lead by Dr. Dan Abel of CCU, and joined by lecturing shark biologist and Sharklab alum Dr. Dean Grubbs, the students spent a week experiencing and encountering the variety of shark species Bimini has to offer. Fieldtrips included both horizontal and deepwater long lining, sharkdives, mangrove tours, gillnetting, and nurse and blacktip shark baiting. The highlight of the course was a large 352 cm male Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) that was caught and tagged off the west side of Bimini in approximately 700 feet of water. The Sharklab would like to thank Dr. Abel, Dr. Grubbs, Sam, Dave, and our great volunteers for all their help during the course. We hope Katrina, Meghan, Sarah C, Alexandra, Travis, Chad, Jeff, Zack, Sheila, Shannon, Jenna, Amanda, Ashley, Sarah R, Mariah, Anna, and Liz enjoyed their time here at the lab!