April 29th - May 1st, 2011 -Fundacion Albatros Media Film with BBFS
Recently, a Panamanian television crew from Fundacion Albatros Media filmed at the Sharklab as part of their educational TV campaign entitled “Visions of Hope”. Fundacion Albatros Media aims to promote conservation in order to improve the quality of life in Latin America. The film crew stayed at the lab for two days with the BBFS team, filming a variety of research activities such as gillnetting, long lining, and a dissection. The Sharklab will be included in the “Seas of Life” episode, a trailer for which can be viewed by following this link.
April 22-27th, 2011 - University of New Brunswick Shark Biology Course
2011 UNB Course
Returning for another year, students from the University of New Brunswick joined the Sharklab team in Bimini for a week long shark biology course. Escaping a snowstorm back in St. John, the students were treated to warm weather and sunny skies as they learned about sharks and their relatives through a variety of lectures and fieldtrips. By exploring the numerous marine habitats that Bimini has to offer, the students saw and, in some cases, handled lemon, nurse, blacktip, tiger, great hammerhead, and blacknose sharks. Highlights included tagging a 320cm mature male tiger shark caught on the vertical longline, and being in the water with a free-swimming great hammerhead. The Sharklab staff would like to thank Dr. Turnbull and our great volunteers for all their help. We hope Joel, Justin, Gary, Joe, Ashley, Nicole, Brenna, Monica, Tessa, Samantha, Dine, Jess, Erin, Ellen, Stephanie, and Logan enjoyed their time at the lab!
March 26-31st, 2011 - Eckerd University Shark Biology Course
2011 Eckerd Course Group
Returning for the fourth year in a row, Eckerd University joined Dr. Gruber at the BBFS for a weeklong shark biology course. Through multiple field trips, the students were treated to a variety of the shark species Bimini has to offer, including a 336 cm tiger shark (G. cuvier) caught on a deep longline, and a 233 cm bull shark (C. leucas) caught in the Alicetown channel. The BBFS staff would like to thank our volunteers, who helped immensely with the course, and we hope Noah, Brandon, Chris, Paul, Sarah, Alanna, Hey Hey, Emily, Mareth, Melissa, Elizabeth, Catharine, Kristin, Jordan, Ski, and Bob enjoyed their time at the lab.
March 21-23rd, 2011 - Guy Harvey Films At BBFS for Upcoming Tiger Shark Documentary
Guy Harvey and team with the BBFS staff and volunteers
As Guy Harvey said, “a documentary on tiger sharks would not be complete without a visit to Dr. Gruber and his world famous research facility!” After more than two years, Guy Harvey concluded filming for his upcoming tiger shark documentary in thrilling fashion at the BBFS. Dr. Harvey was joined by Dr. Mahmood Shivji (Nova Southeastern University/ Director, Guy Harvey Research Institute), as well as Dr. Brad Wetherbee (University of Rhode Island). Together with Dr. Gruber and the BBFS team, a 302 cm male tiger shark was caught off the west coast of Bimini. The shark was tagged with a Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting (SPOT) tag, allowing its future movements to be monitored by satellite and aiding the project's investigation of tiger shark movements in the western North Atlantic.
February 22nd - "Wild Kratts" Film at BBFS
Recently, the widely popular PBS children's program "Wild Kratts" spent the day filming with Dr. Gruber and the BBFS. Filming for an episode to be called "Stuck on Sharks", the Kratt Brothers followed Dr. Gruber into a protected area of Bimini's mangroves to learn about sharks and their usage of nurseries. While there is currently no official air date for the episode, "Stuck on Sharks" will be included in the current season of "Wild Kratts".
February 18th - Dr. Franks Featured on "The Today Show"
On February 18th, BBFS Director Dr. Bryan Franks was featured on NBC’s “The Today Show”. Serving as the shark expert, Dr. Franks shed light on the recent large aggregations of Blacktip (C. limbatus) and Spinner (C. brevipinna) sharks seen off Palm Beach. Dr Franks explained that, as ocean temperatures lower, the sharks migrate south to find warmer water and, while impressive, should not be considered a threat to beachgoers.
February 7th-10th - Enquête Exclusive Films at BBFS
Recently, the Sharklab hosted a French film crew who were preparing for an upcoming episode of the program Enquête Exclusive on French television’s channel M6. Before arriving in Bimini, the film team also joined the Sharklab crew for a day of shark tagging off Jupiter, Florida. The episode of Enquête Exclusive featuring the BBFS is expected to air around April 25th, 2011.
February 6th, 2011 - Bimini Mangroves Featured in Upcoming Book
In his upcoming book Let Them Eat Shrimp: The Tragic Disappearance of the Rainforests of the Sea, author Kennedy Warne describes the importance of mangroves and explains the very real threat facing these essential plants. During his journey Warne visited Bimini, and, in the chapter entitled “Bimini Twist”, he documents the island, its mangroves, the development by Bimini Bay Resort, and the Sharklab. The BBFS would like to take this opportunity to advertise Warne’s important book. For those interested, the book can be ordered by following the link below.
It’s no secret that the Bahamas have a lot of sharks. What is less commonly understood, however, is the importance of sharks to the Bahamas. Economically, it is estimated that shark-based tourism generates $80 million dollars in revenue for the Bahamas every year. Furthermore, as apex predators, sharks play an instrumental role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems, upon which the Bahamas are very dependent. In a collaborative effort, the Bahamas National Trust and the PEW Environmental Group are leading the “Protect the Sharks of the Bahamas” campaign, in which they are seeking to make the Bahamas a shark sanctuary. To do our part, the Sharklab, along with our friends Katie & Grant of Bimini Sands, recently canvassed Bimini to meet with Biminites, spread the word about the campaign, and hang up informative posters. We are happy to report that Biminites were very supportive of the initiative, an encouraging sign for the future of the campaign.
January 16th, 2011 - Diving with Guy Harvey
Guy Harvey with Tyler, Jill, CJ, Jean, and Summer
On January 16th, Guy Harvey and his Big Game Outpost Resort invited the Sharklab to join them on the inaugural dive trip of their new dive vessel, “The Bimini Blue". Assistant managers Jill and Tyler, along with volunteers CJ, Jean, and our friend Summer Farrell, spent the day diving at Victory Reef and Tuna Alley, two of the superb dive sites visited by Big Game’s newly operational Neil Watson’s Dive Bimini dive center. The Big Game crew was very accommodating, and, in between dives, we had a chance to talk with Guy about his Ocean Foundation and their recent shark related projects. The Sharklab would like to thank Guy Harvey and his Big Game Outpost Resort for the wonderful experience and their continued support of the BBFS, and we encourage anyone interested in diving to check out this topnotch dive operation.
January 6-15, 2011 - University of Miami, MBF 514
University of Miami MBF 2011
On January 6th, the BBFS reopened its doors for the New Year and welcomed sixteen students from the University of Miami for a field intensive course in tropical marine biology. Students underwent lectures by Dr. Dean Grubbs from the University of Florida on the many types of tropical marine ecosystems. In an unparalleled learning experience, students explored natural and artificial reefs, sea grass beds, sandy and rocky intertidal zones, and mangroves within minutes of finishing a lecture. The BBFS would like to thank Dr. Grubbs and the course TA Sam for their hard work. We hope Safia, Trista, Ana, Kelly, Marisa, Sarah, Chelsea, Laura, Dorothy, Amanda, Natalie, Kyle, Ryan, Mo, G, and Andrew enjoyed their time at the lab!
November 26th, 2010 - BBFS Donates to Annual Bimini Toy Drive
Emily delivering the toys
With the holiday season fast approaching, the BBFS want to do our part to help make sure the kids of Bimini have a Merry Christmas. Collectively, the staff of the BBFS, Katie and Grant of Bimini Sands, and Eric Stroud of Shark Defense recently donated approximately thirty toys to the Bimini Toy Drive.
If anyone is interested in making a donation, contact Alethia Romer-Ellis in the administrative department by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (242 347 3222 / 4).
November 23rd, 2010 - Softball
Kristine getting ready to bat
On a recent day off, several members of BBFS and Bimini Sands joined in a friendly game of softball pitting the South island against the North. The score was close and, in the end, a little disputed, however everyone had a good time and plans are in the works for forming a permanent team to play in the local league.
October - November, 2010 - BBFS Catch and Tag Four Bull Sharks in Alicetown Channel
Tyler with a 257 cm bull shark (C. leucas)
During recent weeks, BBFS staff and volunteers, with the help of our friends and former lab managers Katie and Grant of Bimini Sands, have caught and tagged four large bull sharks (C. leucas) in the Alicetown channel. The first two sharks, both adult females, were 257cm and 259cm respectively. The second two, this time mature males, were nearly identical in size at 232cm and 233cm. Not uncommon in the winter months, bull sharks can be found patrolling the docks of Alicetown in search of scraps discarded by fishermen.
October 2-3 , 2010 — Marine Biologist and Shark Activist Gail Woon Visits the Sharklab
Gail and Candice
Recently, the Sharklab was pleased to welcome marine biologist Gail Woon and her daughter Candice to the lab for the weekend. Woon,
September 25 , 2010 — 25th Annual Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup
Saturday, September 25th was The Ocean Conservancy's 25th Annual International Coastal Cleanup. The Sharklab, along with teams from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Bimini Sands Resort and Marina, and the Bimini Sands Kids Club, spent several hours collecting trash on Bimini's beaches. A total of 600lbs (273 kg) of trash was collected on South Bimini alone, in addition to the efforts of a group on North Bimini.
Members of BBFS, Bimini Sands, and Bimini Sands Kids Club
The 600lbs of trash collected on South Bimini came from a stretch of beach less than 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in length. This
staggering figure is a reminder that we need to be better stewards of our island home and take pride in keeping our beaches and roads clean. Thus far in 2010, we have organized three road cleanups and one beach cleanup, doing what we can to give back to the community that allows us to conduct shark research in its backyard. The Sharklab is proud to be a part of the Bimini community and will continue to do its part to keep Bimini beautiful.
Come visit us soon!
September 6-17, 2010 — Marquesas Key Lemon Shark Census 2010
Lauran and Dr. Franks during a work-up
This past September, once again, the BBFS assembled a research team to sample the Marquesas Keys, a small mangrove lagoon 25 miles west of Key West, Florida. Similar to our PIT project in Bimini, the Marquesas lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris) census involves a comprehensive population sampling by way of overnight gillnetting. This year, the team caught and tagged 44 total lemon sharks, including eleven sub-adults caught on rod-and-reel. Of these forty-four sharks, five were recaptures from previous years, including one shark originally caught in 2004 and another from 2002! These recaptures will provide a great deal of information and are invaluable additions to our database. The team also encountered bonnethead, blacktip, and nurse sharks in their sampling. The work was completed off of the R/V Dante Fassell, a NOAA vessel hailing from Key West. Thanks to the entire crew, Captain Adam Bryne, Captain Daniel Hogsted, Dr. Pat Rice (for making the arrangements for the vessel), team memebers Dr. Gruber, Dr. Franks, Dr. Kessel, Jill, Tyler, Alec, Andy, Lauran, Jojo, and Tami for a great effort in making the Marquesas 2010 Lemon Shark Census a great success!
August 15-22, 2010 — University of Minnesota, Tropical Marine Biology Course
Students from the University of Minnesota attended the 3rd annual Tropical Marine Biology Course held at the Bimini Biological Field Station. Dr. Peter Sorensen and Dr. Dean Grubbs instructed sixteen students for the weeklong course, which explored the variety of marine ecosystems that Bimini has to offer. Students attended lectures, labs, peer presentations, and were taken around the islands of Bimini on numerous field trips. The students were treated to a wide array of marine life, including some amazing encounters with the multiple shark species around Bimini, and even a Manta ray! . Many thanks go out to Dr. Sorensen and Dr. Grubbs, along with all the students: Ben, Michael, Tyler, Nick, Liz, Maddy, Marilyn, Laura, Betzy, Sanna, Bryna, Steve, Sean, Wally, Tom, and Brian
University of Minnesota 2010
August 13th, 2010 — Scientific American
In a recent article, Scientific American has featured Doc and the Sharklab while discussing modern advancements in elasmobranch research. The article highlights Doc's work on the learning capacity of sharks, and explains the importance of scientifically backed conservation efforts. Follow the link below to read the article and view the included slideshow.
August 6th, 2010 — Discovery News article features research by former P.I. Tristan Guttridge
The doctoral research of BBFS Principal Investigator Tristan Guttridge has been featured in an article on the Discovery News website. Guttridge, who served as a P.I. from 2006-2008, conducted social behavior studies on both wild and captive juvenile lemon sharks. To read the article, follow the link below.
The staff and volunteers of the Sharklab, joined by our friends Katie and Grant of Bimini Sands, collected trash along the roads leading from the Sharklab and South Bimini Airport (BIM) to the South Bimini ferry dock. These two roads are the most trafficked on South Bimini and provide the first views of Bimini to tourists arriving at the airport. Im total, nearly twenty-five full bags of trash were removed from the area.
Staff and volunteers of BBFS with Grant from Bimini Sands
April 15-16, 2010 — Yap Films Inc.
Dr. Samuel Gruber returned to the Sharklab to host a Canadian film team, Yap Films Inc. Yap is producing a show for the ScFy Channel called Beast Legends. The working title of this episode is Daku Wanda. The show looks at the sensory system and behaviour of sharks. It is set to air on ScFy in September of 2010 and on History Television in Canada.
April 5-8, 2010 — Shark Defense
Eric Stroud, Patrick Rice and Craig O'Connell from Shark Defense returned to Bimini to carry out some shark repellent testing. The crew worked with some of our juvenile lemon and nurse sharks. Shark Defense has been working with the Sharklab since the early 2000s. The continue to work towards creating an effective shark repellent for the reduction in shark bycatch on commerical long line fisheries.
March 27 - April 1, 2010 — Eckerd College, FL
The 3rd annual Eckerd College Shark Biology course took place at the Bimini Biological Field Station. The students were treated to several different species of shark in just a few days. The were able to observe caribbean reef sharks, tiger sharks, nurse sharks, great hammerheads, blacktip, lemon sharks, blacknose and possibly a few others. Daily field trips were done in the often not so ideal weather conditions. With the help of Grant and Katie at Bimini Sands Resort and Marina, the class was able to watch a deep water long line hauled up from 750' of water near the edge of the gulf stream. The long line netted us two tiger sharks with just 6 baited hooks. The class was also witness to one of the more crazy and exciting activities, a lemon shark chase down. 5 Sharklab skiffs full of students and staff scoured the lagoon flats in search of large lemon sharks. Two sharks were captured, tagged and released while the class observed. The final night was our traditional night out to the Beach Club for a meal and a few drinks with everyone. Thanks goes out to our Sharklab volunteers who helped immensely with the entire course, including preparations and cleanup. We hope Ben, Victoria, Lauren C., Abi, Lindsay, Allison, Michelle, Kristen, Lauren M., Stephanie, Sarah, Emily, Maxine, Fabio, Lauren V, Tom and Ski enjoyed their time in Bimini.
March 8-10, 2010 — What's Up Films
In conjunction with the Bahamas Tourism Department and Bimini Sands Resort and Marina, the Sharklab played host to a French film team for a program entitled "New Paradises Bahamas". It is set to air on ARTE in France and Germany in August/September of 2010. While detailing the importance of mangroves and the lemon shark, the production goes beyond just Sharklab activities. They filmed Mr. Ansil Saunders, a famous bone fisherman and boat builder in North Bimini. They also took trips to film dolphins, the Bimini Road, Sapona, The Dolphin House owned by Ashley Saunders and other notable tourist destinations in and around Bimini. The Bahamas Tourism Department is actively promoting the Bahamas in conjunction with their direct flights from France to Nassau.
February 19, 2010 — Lemons Sharks Gain Protection in Florida
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have approved a rule that prohibits both commercial and recreational harvesting of lemon sharks in Florida waters. In 2009, the Bimini Biological Field Station along with many concerned citizens and groups took a stand to protect the lemon sharks, which are known to aggregate in Florida waters. The groups approached the FWC to request a ban on the harvest of these sharks. The general life history of the shark (low fecundity, high juvenile mortality, slow growth and age needed to reach sexual maturity) lends its selves to being over harvested. Any commercial or recreational harvesting in the aggregations could lead to a total depletion of the stocks in a short time. For these reasons the FWC has ruled in favor of protecting the lemon shark in Florida Waters, for which it has jurisdiction. We can only hope that the federal waters will soon follow Florida’s lead. The rule takes effect on March 23, 2010.
February 7&12, 2010 — South Bimini Roadside Cleanup
The staff and volunteers of the Sharklab participated in a couple roadside cleanups on South Bimini. The cleanups were carried out from the South Bimini Airport (BIM) to the South Bimini Ferry Dock over two separate days. The stretch of road being the most visible to all tourists arriving and departing the Bimini Islands by plane. An estimate 40+ garbage bags of trash was removed from the area.
Staff and volunteers of BBFS
January 6-15, 2010 — University of Miami, MBF 514
The Sharklab reopened its doors on January 6th, to host the University of Miami MBF 514 Tropical Marine Biology course. Fifteen students spent 9 days studying the marine life around the Bimini islands. Field trips were carried out in a variety of habitats including sea grass beds, sandy shorelines, rocky intertidal zones, artificial reefs, mangrove forests and several others. The Sharklab would like to thank Dr. Dean Grubbs for lecturing and the TA for the course, our very own Kristine Stump. We hope Drew, Jacquelyn, Tara, Alexandra, Jamison, Marc, Phillip, Paige, Sam, Margarita, Julia, Brendan, Fletcher, Ari and Kasia enjoyed their time with us and learned a little something along the way.
MBF Class of 2010
December 15, 2009 — Sharklab closes for the Holiday Season
The staff of the Sharklab would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season. December 15th marks the only time during the year that the Sharklab is not in operation. The lab shuts down, the science stops and we all depart to visit our families. An individual or two look over the Sharklab during our absence. It will be back in business as usual in early January when we prepare for our annual MBF 514 course with the University of Miami. Wishing everybody all the best in 2010!
December 7, 2009 — Mangrove Destruction
It has been almost 1 year since the announcement by the Government of the Bahamas that the Bimini Marine Protected Area has been established. Yet the boundaries for the MPA have yet to be determined, rules and regulations have not been established and the question of how the MPA will impact the construction plans for Bimini Bay Resort and Marina are unanswered. As we look forward to having many of these issues addressed, we cannot loose sight of the impacts that development is having on the mangroves around the tiny islands of Bimini. A recent article by Jillian Morris reminds us of the importance of the Mangroves in Bimini. Within the article is a photograph that speaks to the problems of development in Bimini. This particular photograph by Matthew Potenski was a recent winner of the Ocean In Focus Conservation Photo Contest. It must be pointed out that, while the picture in the article states that it was taken in the North Sound, the photo is actually of construction on South Bimini.
To Download Jillian's Mangrove Destruction article, click here.
Photo by Matthew Potenski
November 30, 2009 — Piante Mare, Italian Television Program
An Italian film team spent 3 days at the Sharklab to film an episode for a program called Pianeta Mare. The host of the program, Tessa Gelisio tries to overcome her fear of sharks while learning about our research from Sharklab PI, Kristine Stump. Two separate episodes were being filmed. One documents the importance of the mangroves and lemon sharks in Bimini along with the dangers both face by the construction of a local resort. The second episode touches on the lure of the Road to Atlantis (Bimini Road).
Pianeta Mare will air the lemon shark episode on January 24 or January 31 of 2010 on Rete 4 in Italy.
October 31, 2009 — Bimini Sands: Shark-Free Marina
Bimini Sands Resort and Marina is the first to sign on as a shark free marina. As part of the Shark-Free Marina Initiative sharks cannot be landed in any manner nor fished from Bimini Sands marina. The aim of the SFMI is to reduce worldwide shark mortality. To read more about the SFMI or to view of listing of marinas that have signed on please visit Shark-Free Marina Initiative
October 10, 2009 — Petition to protect the Lemon shark in Florida
A petition has been started to protect the Lemon shark in Florida waters. This is due in large part to the aggregations of adult lemon sharks observed each winter off Jupiter, Florida. The Bimini Biological Field Station from January to March each year is studying these natural aggregations. They are also important to local dive groups who first discovered them. There is evidence that commercial shark fishers are targeting the aggregations. Without proper protection, we are leaving the sharks prone to being wiped out. If you will be in Florida on October 19th - 20th, please attend one of the FWC Public Lemon Shark Workshops. Oct. 19th - Fort Myers, FL - 6pm - 8pm - Joseph P. D'Alessandro Office Complex, 2295 Victoria Ave.
Oct. 20th - Dania Beach, FL - 6pm -8pm - IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum, 300 Gulf Stream Way. Please sign the petition by clicking here Urgent Help Needed to Protect Lemon Sharks!
September 16, 2009 — Lemon sharks hang out with friends
PlantetEarth online Environmental Research News has posted an article on the social aspect of lemon sharks. This is based on field work conducted by former Sharklab PhD student, Tristan Guttridge and published in the journal, Animal Behaviour To read the full article click here Lemon sharks hang out with friends
September 11, 2009 — Sharklab YouTube Account Active
The Sharklab has recently subscribed to YouTube where a number of our videos have been posted for all to see. To see our selection of videos go to: Sharklab YouTube Account
September 10, 2009 — French TF1 Film Shoot Now Online
French TF1 shot some promotional footage of Sharkwater’s Rob Stewart at the Sharklab in February of 2008. Recently the production was released on the Internet. The 16 minute French clip is titled L’homme Requin. The video can be found by clicking here Rob Stewart and BBFS
September 15, 2009 — Marquesas Key Lemon Shark Census 2009
A small team from BBFS spent almost two weeks out in the Marquesas Keys, a small mangrove lagoon 25 miles west of Key West, Florida. Each summer the BBFS carries out their annual lemon shark census, similar to our PIT project in Bimini. The team caught and tagged 41 total lemon sharks in this lagoon, including 7 sub-adults which marks a significant increase over the 2007 and 2008 census. The team also encountered bonnethead, blacknose, nurse and spinner sharks in their sampling. The work was completed off of the R/V Dante Fassell, a NOAA vessel hailing from Key West. Thanks to the entire crew, Captain Jeff Kelly, Dr. Pat Rice (for making the arrangements for the vessel), team memebers Dr. Gruber, Dr. Franks, Sean, Jim, Matt, Kat, Jill, Brian, Jade, Alec, Rad, Amanda, and Helena for a great effort in making the Marquesas 2009 Lemon Shark Census a great success!
The team on the R/V Dante Fassell in Key West
August 26-27, 2009 — National Geographic “Hooked” Film Shoot
The National Geographic Channel spent two days filming with the Sharklab for the television series Hooked. The Sharklab was demonstrating a series of techniques we have for capturing sharks by hand. Several sharks were captured by hand for the purposes of collecting genetic samples and placing identification tags on the animals. Look for it coming soon to the National Geographic Channel. For a listing of media events from the Sharklab please click here Sharklab Media
August 16-23, 2009 — University of Minnesota, Tropical Marine Biology Course
Students from the University of Minnesota attended the 2nd annual Tropical Marine Biology Course held at the Bimini Biological Field Station. Dr. Peter Sorensen and Dr. Dean Grubbs instructed a course of 11 students for the weeklong course. Students attended lectures and lab, presented student projects and were taken around the islands of Bimini for a variety of field trips. The final days of the course were spectacular with the students swimming with a Tiger Shark and Manta Ray. Many thanks go out to Dr. Sorensen and Dr. Grubbs along with all the students: Arielle, Kara, Halie, Jake, Jens, Lydia, Hannah, Brandon, Megan, Isaac and Allen.
University of Mineesota 2009
July 22-27, 2009 — American Elasmobranch Society Meeting
The 25th annual meeting of the American Elasmobranch Society (AES) was held in Portland, Oregon for 2009. Representing the Sharklab were Dr. Samuel Gruber, Dr. Bryan Franks, Kristine Stump and Steve Kessel. Also in attendance were many Sharklab alumni. Presentations were given by Dr. Bryan Franks, Kristine Stump and Steve Kessel. Next year’s meeting will be held from July 7-12 in Providence, RI.
June 1, 2009 — PIT 2009 Lemon Shark Census Project Begins
It is that time of year again. In the last two months the mother lemon sharks have come into the lagoon and dropped their litters of pups. BBFS will go out and intensively fish the Bimini lagoon in an attempt to catch and census all the juvenile lemons residing there. This will mark the 15th straight year the lab has conducted a yearly census in what is the longest continuous and focused study on a shark species anywhere in the world. You can follow along with our PIT Project Census via the PIT 2009 web journal.
Click on the image to see the 2009 PIT Web Journal
May 2009 — Kristine attends mangrove restoration course in Nassau
Last month, Sharklab Principal Investigator Kristine Stump attended a three-day course on Mangrove Ecology, Restoration and Management at the College of the Bahamas in Nassau. The workshop, led by Mr. Robin Lewis of Lewis Environmental Services, was sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of the Environment. Attendees included representatives from such entities as the Bahamas National Trust; The Nature Conservancy; Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Commission; Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF); College of the Bahamas; and Bimini Bay Resort, among others. The course was designed to help explain the most successful and cost-effective means of restoring damaged mangrove forests to functional ecosystems, and included both lectures and site visits near Nassau. A portion of Bimini’s mangrove forests which serve as nursery grounds for many species has already been lost, and more habitat continues to be threatened due to coastal development in the North Sound. Lessons learned from this course may help managers mitigate impacts by employing strategies that promote healthy mangrove growth over time. For more information on the course, visit http://www.mangroverestoration.com
Kristine at the mangrove course in Nassau
April 11-14, 09 — Tigress Productions films for National Geographic Channel
A crew of four spent a few days at the Sharklab filming lemons sharks around Bimini. They were delighted to come across a pregnant female lemon in the inner lagoon.
Doc with juvenile lemon.
The show is part of the "Wild" Series and is set to air on Channel 5 in the UK and National Geographic Channel in the US.
Filming was also done with Eric Stroud and Craig O'Connell of SharkDefense with his chemical shark repellents both in Bimini and Seton Hall University. See SharkDefense.com by clicking here: SharkDefense.
Look for the program sometime in late 2009.
March 13-18, 09 — Eckerd College Shark Biology Course
A group of 16 spent just under a week at the Sharklab as part of their shark biology course with Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida. The course was blessed with terrific weather and lots of sharks throughout the duration of the course. The students were treated to one of the largest Tiger sharks caught on our long lines in many years. A 370cm Tiger was hooked sometime in the morning while the students were busy watching several nurse sharks being fed by the staff of BBFS. After getting the radio call, the crew quickly departed to see this larger predator being worked up by the tagging team. Eckerd was one of the few courses lucky enough to be treated to an up close look at several free swimming Great Hammerheads. In the past couple of months the staff has been having great success with baiting in a number of hammerheads, the success continued on this course with at least four sharks.
Nurse Shark Ledge
During the busy schedule packed into such a short course the students were able to see Caribbean Reef sharks, Nurse sharks, Tiger sharks, Great Hammerheads, Blacknose, Blacktip, Lemon and a Bignose shark. Activities included 48hrs of long line fishing, 2 vertical deep water long lines, 2 shark dives, nurse shark feedings, stingray feedings, snorkeling an artificial wreck, chase down and tagging of lemon sharks, gillnetting for juvenile lemon sharks as well as videos and lectures. Thanks to course instructor Bill Szelistowsk (aka: Ski) and the 15 students (Lilly, Michelle, Mike, Allan, Pat, Alex, Dan, Ariel, Alastair, Mad Mike, Leah, Benji, William, Nathan and Bryan)
February 10, 09 — Sharklab goes Primetime
Earlier news articles mentioned a major filming event happening at the Sharklab. We are now in a position to release more information about this film shoot. Original Productions, makers of the hit television series Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers and America's Toughest Jobs, spent two months filming on location at the Sharklab. The production follows the Sharklab staff and volunteers as they carry out their everyday activities and shark related projects around Bimini and other locations. The show, currently named Shark U on Original Production's website is set to air on Primetime NBC during the summer of 2009. Stay tuned for more updates on the show's debut. The Sharklab would like to thank all of Original's production crew that made this show possible: Justine, Jerry D, Cameron, Mark, Brian, Andy, Katy, Jamie, Rosie, Dawson, Gavin, Chris, Michaela, Tracy, Caroline, Robyn, Jason, Jerry, Matt, Wade, Scott, and Jeff
February 2-4, 09 — Oceana Films at Bimini
Oceana is the largest international ocean protection & restoration environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting and restoring the world's oceans. They recently sent a team to shoot a video which will be used in their efforts to protect and restore shark populations. The video was taken by long time Sharklab friend, Neil Andrea and Sharklab alumni Tim Calvier. The video featured a celebrity spokesperson. For more information on Oceana please take a moment to visit their website www.oceana.org and to read about their efforts to protect sharks visit www.oceana.org/sharks/
January 25, 09 — Swimming with Hammerheads
A few individuals from the Sharklab were treated to a terrific ending to a day off. Just off the western shore from South Bimini a total of three Great Hammerhead sharks were attracted towards the Sharklab boat. Initially a lone 11' individual arrived on scene to check things out. The shark cautiously approached numerous times, but seemed to remain relatively shy of the free divers. Just as the divers started to get restless from lack of photographic and video opportunities a 9' shark boldly came towards the bait. For the next hour the shark swam among the divers allowing for some terrific video to be taken of the event. Towards the end, two 9' sharks were hanging out in the area and were often seen together making it a total of at least three hammerheads sighted.
January 23-24, 09 — Dr. Nic Holland looks for a very rare animal
Dr. Nicholas Holland from UCSD in California returned for the second time in as many months in search of Asymmetron, a very tiny animal that is found near Bimini. The Sharklab assisted in his successful quest. The Asymmetron were found in the same general location as they were during his previous visit in November of last year. For more information on Asymmetron please see the news article dated November 15-18, 08 below.
January 18-24, 09 — Make a Wish
The Bimini Biological Field station was humbled to be asked to make a dream come true for fifteen year old Elizabeth (Lizzie) Sautter. Lizzie's wish was to have the opportunity to work with shark biologists and participate in some of the activities that would have her up close with her favorite animals.
Lizzie and Dr. Gruber
The island of Bimini was very gracious to help make this wish happen. Accommodations where provided courtesy of Bimini Sands Resort and Marina. Transportation was provided courtesy of Small's Golf Cart Rental. Island tours and snorkel excursions provided courtesy of Grant and Katie at Bimini Sands Resort Leisure and Recreation Department. The Sharklab provided all that weather would permit in terms of shark excitement. Lizzie was fortunate in seeing 8 species of shark (tiger, bull, great hammerhead, caribbean reef, lemon, nurse, blacktip and blacknose sharks) during her week long visit. She swam with caribbean reef sharks and helped collect data on and tag a pair of tiger sharks. Everyone at the Sharklab was thrilled to be part of this event and we truly hope that Lizzie and her family had a great time playing with the sharks!
February 16, 09 — Bimini Town Meeting - Bimini Bay & MPA
A town meeting was called in North Bimini to update Bimini residents and interested parties on the status of the Bimini Bay Project and the impacts on the North Sound lagoon. The meeting was hosted by the Bimini Town Counsel and the Minister of the Environment, the Hon. Dr. Earl Deveaux. In attendance were many of the parties involved in the ongoing debate over the project such as the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), the BEST Commission, Department of Marine Resources, Department of Tourism, Bimini Bay (RAV Bahamas Ltd.) representatives, Bimini's District Counsel, Bimini residents, Bimini Biological Field Station, and Black & Veatch.
The Hon. Dr. Earl Deveaux spoke about the ongoing controversy that the Bimini Bay project has created, of the many questions which need answering and of how to best go forward with the development.
Andrew Byers, Black & Veatch, spoke of their report findings, which he stressed was not an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment). It was a review of what had been done to date by Bimini Bay. The take home statement from Mr. Byers was that proper EIA's and EMP's (environmental management plan) had not been done and that the development should not go further until such reports are done.
Phillip Weech, the BEST Commission spoke to the audience next and announced that as of December 2008 the Bimini MPA (Marine Protected Area)
was official, surprising the crowd. The boundaries of the MPA extend from just southwest of the northern tip of the North Sound around to encompass the eastern portion of North Bimini, including many of the islands just east of the Alice Town channel. The MPA therefore extends over a portion of Bimini Bays original planned development, including the area set out by Bimini Bay to house their 18 hole golf course. Consultations still need to be had with local government and interested parties on the exact rules of the MPA, but Mr. Weech did state quite matter of fact to the audience that limited development could take place as long as it had zero impact the MPA and surrounding wetlands and could only be done on "hard land".
Please visit the Bahamas National Trust website for more information on the importance of the mangroves found along the western edge of the Great Bahama Bank. The Bahamas National Trust's position on the Bimini Bay Project is that the development should not extend into that portion of Phase 2 which includes plans for the golf course. They point out the direct conflict of the government's plans for a MPA and the plans by RAV Bahamas for the golf course.
January 6-15, 09 — University of Miami MBF 514
The Bimini Biological Field station played host to students from the University of Miami. MBF 514 is a Tropical Marine Biology course that is held at the Sharklab each January. The course takes students on a variety of field trips around the island of Bimini. Students participate in species collection from rocky intertidal zones, mangrove forests, artificial reefs, coral patch reefs, seagrass beds and others. Specimens are held in aquariums maintained on site where students are tested on species identification. The specimens are released back into the wild at the conclusion of the course. The course was administered by Dr. Dan DiResta with the teacher's assistant being our very own Kristine Stump, who participated in this same course several years ago. A big thank you goes out to the students of MBF 514: Lauren, Marina, Lisa, Sandra, Roberto, Jonathan, Kalah, Chelsey, Kevin P, Kevin I, Emily, Monique, Karen, Estrella, and Katrina.
Additional course information can be found by clicking here BBFS Courses.
December 5, 08 — Call for 09' Volunteers
The Bimini Biological Field station is looking for volunteers to assist in research at Bimini, Bahamas throughout the year in 2009. Volunteer positions assisting field research on population dynamics and behavior of aggregating adult lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) off Jupiter, Florida, are available starting mid January to March of 2009. Diving to depths of 30 m will be done to both observe the aggregations and to service the VR2 monitors in Jupiter. Experience with SCUBA (and particularly use of re-breathers) is an advantage, although not essential. Help with the extensive logistics will be needed for all collecting and diving trips.
If you are interested in applying to volunteer at either Bimini, Bahamas or Jupiter, Florida please contact Kat Gledhill at email@example.com. Additional volunteer information can be found by clicking here Volunteer Info.
December 4, 08 — Manatee visits Bimini
For almost a week, the docks around Alicetown have had a new and rarely seen visitor. A manatee was first reported on November 28th near the wreck of the Gallant Lady off North Bimini. The Sharklab located it again on November 29th. It has now become a regular sight off the docks in Alicetown. Manatees have been observed in Bimini waters before, perhaps not for almost a decade by some reports.
Plans are underway by US federal agencies, Florida state agencies, Bahamas federal agencies, the Bimini Biological Field Station, and the Dolphin Communication Project to transport the individual to the eastern coast of Florida.
Some manatees are found on Grand Bahama Island, and possibly small populations elsewhere in the Bahamas but they are not common to Bimini. The highest populations are found just 50 miles away from Bimini along the coast of Florida where they have plenty of food and fresh water.
November 26, 08 — Bull Sharks
After hearing rumors of bull sharks present in the Alicetown channel and having witnessed one large bull off Bimini Blue Water Resort, the Sharklab crew set out to capture, tag and release one of these large sharks.
It could not have gone better. Moments after arriving on the North island, two large individuals were observed in the area. Shortly thereafter we had our first hookup using a baited gangion and ball float. The shark was allowed to swim away, towing the float behind it. After a short period of time a team set out to capture the shark by boat. The shark was measured, tagged, sexed and a small DNA sample was taken.
The shark was then released in the vicinity of where it was caught. Our team was elated with the success. This procedure was carried out 3 times, yielding 3 large bulls measuring in at 254cm, 255cm and 262cm.
November 19, 08 — Sharklab says goodbye to Principal Investigator, Tristan Gutridge
Tristan Gutridge has concluded the data collection side of his PhD thesis after almost three years of research in Bimini. Tristan started his project in January of 2006 and was a constant face at the Sharklab since that time.
Tristan was Co-Principal Investigator with Steven Kessel, who also recently departed Bimini. Tristan has returned to Leeds University in the UK to put the finishing touches on his project.
With the departure of Tristan and Steve, the Sharklab has welcomed its newest Principal Investigator, Kristine Stump. Kristine will be leading the science side of the lab for the next 3 years.
Good luck Tristan. We hope to see you back here soon.
November 15-19, 08 — NHK Film Production
Japanese Television, NHK, visited the Sharklab to film mangrove and lemon sharks around Bimini. NHK is the national television channel in Japan. The 4 member crew spend 3 days filming in the shallow water lagoon of Bimini in one of several Bahamian stops for their produciton
November 15-18, 08 — Dr. Nic Holland looks for a very rare animal
Asymmetron, a very tiny animal that was found near Bimini and reported 115 years ago, was again found by Dr. Nicholas (Nic) Holland from UCSD in California, with assistance from the Sharklab. Around 20 individuals were discovered after sifting through sand for a period of 2 days between North and South Bimini. Asymmetron is a small marine invertebrate in the subphylum Cephalochordata. It is found buried in the sand with its head protruding out. It moves quickly by a springing action. Cephalochordates are an important link to the phylum Chordata. Cephalochordates have a nerve cord like the Chordates, but this nerve cord is protected by a notochord instead of bone. The staff of the Sharklab enjoyed having Dr. Holland, and are pleased with his great find.
November 6&10, 08 — Vertical long lines score big
Our long line fishing has for the most part been confined to the shallow waters of the Bahama Bank. There have been a few occasions that have seen the lines set on the drop off to the Gulf Steam just west of Bimini. Those occasions were met with considerable highs and lows. Our equipment was not set up to haul in bottom lines from 500-600 ft of water.
Jim with Tiger Shark
Enter Dr. Demian Chapman, a Sharklab alumnus, who carries out shark research in Belize and Florida. Dr. Chapman and his wife Debbie, another Sharklab alumnus, use a single line vertical drop in the deep waters around Belize. The single line reduces the chance of the line getting hung up on the bottom which was the typical problem faced when using the standard bottom line.
In recent times the Sharklab has put this method to good use. The first vertical line yielded 2 large 3m+ tiger sharks which were filmed during our recent "major" production. The next vertical line came up with 1 tiger shark in the same location. Then for the BBC production we set another vertical line, again in the same location. This set came up with 2 more tiger sharks, one of which was a recap from the first time we tried this method. The Sharklab would really like to thank Demian and Debbie for getting us "hooked" on this great technique.
November 4-8, 08 — Dr. John Williams conducts shark repellant trials in Bimini
Dr. John Williams from Temple University in Philadelphia, returned once again to the Sharklab to carry out trials of his shark repellant. Trials were carried out on semi-captive Nurse sharks and wild Caribbean reef sharks. Dr. Williams treated us to a presentation on the chemistry behind his repellant, which has evolved from the Moses sole. The Moses sole has long been known to repel sharks. We hope to see you back here soon.
November 15, 08 — BBC "Deadly 60" Filming at Tiger Beach
BBFS recently hosted a team from the BBC natural history division to film a program on sharks for their series "Deadly 60". After a few days of filming here in Bimini with lemon and Caribbean reef sharks, the film crew and a BBFS team boarded the M/V Indigo. The 90+ foot vessel headed north of West End to the sand banks at Tiger Beach. The team spent several days filming adult lemon sharks, tiger sharks, and a great hammerhead. Underwater reciever units were retrieved to determine if any transmittered adults had visited the area. Additionally, a 270+ cm adult female was caught and fitted with both an acoustic transmitter and a pop-off satellite telemetry tag.
Duncan films a large tiger shark
BBFS, BBC, and M/V Indigo Crew
October 23, 08 — Sundance Boats
Sundance boats has been added as one of our major sponsors. Sundance announced today that they will replace our fleet of flat bottom skiffs.
With 3 new 16ft skiffs and 2 new 17ft skiffs we will be in great position to continue our field work in the shallow water lagoons around Bimini for years to come. It couldn't have come at a better time with Mercury Outboards and Davey Marine set to replace our 25HP and 50HP outboards engines. Things should be running smoothly on the water for a long time. Check out the awesome line of skiffs at Sundance Boats.
October 18, 08 — Change of our Principal Investigators
October 18th marked the end to 3 years of research for PhD student, Steve Kessel. After a brief stop in the USA, Steve will head back to England where he will put the finishing touches on his thesis. While he may no longer be a permanent fixture in Bimini, Steve will still be working with the Sharklab to continue his research on the Lemon sharks of Jupiter, Florida. As Steve leaves us, we have a new PI arriving at the lab to start her PhD field research. Kristine Stump from Boca Raton, FL joined us on October 15th. She will be working on her thesis for the next 3 years in Bimini. Kristine is no stranger to the Sharklab, and has been volunteering since the summer of 2005.
October 17, 08 — It's a wrap
Filming from a Helicopter
After 8 straight weeks, filming has wrapped at the Sharklab. While we cannot yet officially announce the production we can say that it has by far been the largest that the Sharklab has been a part of. Stay tuned for more information on this production including of course when and which channel it airs. BBFS would like to thank all that were involved from start to finish. We are excited to see the final product in 2009.
September 27, 08 — Two large Tiger sharks caught West of Bimini
On September 27th, BBFS staff along with Dr. Demian Chapman set a vertical long-line in almost 700 feet of water and caught two large male Tiger sharks. Both of these "big boys" measured almost 12 feet in total length. All personell from the lab were on hand to watch the workups and snorkel with the Tigers. The day culminated when Lab manager Kat swam the second Tiger shark to a successful release. Everyone at the lab was thrilled to experience the size, power and beauty of these magnificent fish.
12 foot Tiger shark alongside Twin Vee
September 4, 08 — Hurricane Hanna & Ike
Those of you following this active Hurricane season and those concerned about the welfare of the Sharklab and its people, know that we are monitoring the storms daily. We escaped Hanna with little more than the occassional wind gusts. Ike is a different story.
Hurricane Ike's Predicted Route
Currently Ike is due to make its way to Bimini on Tuesday. The current track has the storm passing directly over Bimini. Ike has the makings of a devasting storm. Preparations are already underway for securing the lab and equipment. Evacuation plans for volunteers, staff and film crew are underway should they be needed. Staff in Flordia are prepare to deal with all the logistics of moving our people off the island. All we can do is hope and wait.
Two months of filming have started on an upcoming mini series set to air in 2009. The show will be following the Sharklab crew on their many shark adventures in Bimini, Marquesas, Jupiter and Tiger Beach. It also follows the daily routine of life at a field research station, and the people that make it all happen. Stay tuned for more details on this major filming event.
August 17-24, 08 — University of Minnesota Course
Students from the University of Minnesota spent a week at the Sharklab learning and studying the variety of marine plants and animals that are found in the many different marine habitats around the island of Bimini. The course was hosted by Dr. Samuel Gruber, Dr. Dean Grubbs and Dr. Peter Sorensen. Field trips were done on rocky shore lines, intertidal pools, mangroves lagoons, sea grass beds, artificial reefs, coral patch reefs and others. The students finished their field trip with an identification exam followed by a shark dive with Caribbean Reef Sharks. The Sharklab would like to thank Dr. Peter Sorensen and all his students for an enjoyable, though windy week of field activities.
July 29, 08 — Sharklab undergoes renovation
Sharklab Construction Crew
In the heat of July staff and volunteers were busily tearing out the old deck and building a new one. It took the better part of a week to construct, and even longer to plan.
The Finished Deck
All the supplies were purchased in Florida, shipped to South Bimini, cleared through Bahamas Customs then delivered to the Sharklab with the help of our friends at Bimini Sands. The finished product looks great. It was a much needed renovation.
July 23-28, 08 — The American Elasmobranch Society Meeting
Many of the Sharklab staff were away in Montreal, Canada for a meeting of The American Elasmobranch Society. AES was founded by Dr. Gruber in 1983, and 2008 marked its 24th annual meeting.
The meeting offers a chance for our scientist to present some of their work to other shark and rays scientists. It also offers a chance to meet and talk to others about work going on in the field of elasmobranch research. Each year there is a Sharklab group dinner hosted by Doc & Marie. Past and current Sharklab alumni enjoy a chance to catch up with old friends and talk about past adventures. Next year’s meeting is scheduled for July 22-27 in Portland, OR.
July 6, 08 — Wilderness Classroom visits the Sharklab
On July 6, 2008 students aboard the R/V Coral Reef II stopped by to pay a visit to the Sharklab. The students are part of the High School Marine Biology Program at Shedd Aquarium and the Wilderness Classroom. The program is aimed at students who may want to explore marine science as a career path. More information on the Wildernss Classroom, the HSMB Program and a short video clip of their visit can be found on their website wildernessclassroom.com
Take a moment to check it out!
June 11, 08 — Tiger Beach Expedition Update Online!
On June 8-11, 2008 Doc, Steve Kessel, and Matt Potenski joined Capt. Pete Lindgren and the crew of the M/V Dollie for a trip to the Tiger Beach site, off the West End. During the three day stay, the team encountered adult lemon sharks and tiger sharks. Among the work completed was DNA sampling, placing hydrophone receiver units, tagging and palcing transmitters on two adult females, and assisting field tests of "sharkproof" mesh for Lindgren-Pitman, Inc. The trip was a great success. To see more pictures and read about the expedition CLICK HERE!
Tiger Beach - Home of Adult Lemon Sharks
June 07, 08 — BBFS PIT 2008 Lemon Shark Census Begins
It is that time of year again. In the last two months the mother lemon sharks have come into the lagoon and dropped their litters of pups. BBFS will go out and intensively fish the Bimini lagoon in an attempt to catch and census all the juvenile lemons residing there. This will mark the 14th straight year the lab has conducted a yearly census in what is the longest continuous and focused study on a shark species anywhere in the world. You can follow along with our PIT Project Census via the PIT 2008 web journal.
Click on the image to see the 2008 PIT Web Journal
May 19, 08 — 320cm Tiger Shark caught by hand.
On a day off a few individuals from the Sharklab teamed up with Grant and Katie from Bimini Sands. They set out on the Bimini Sands Twin Vee to investigate some new spear fishing locations several miles north of the island. On the way there they passed a large Tiger shark swimming calmly along the surface.
320cm Tiger Shark
After a brief attempt to swim with the shark they decided to catch it from the boat. The only problem was none of their normal tagging equipment was on board. Sean and Grant knew they had caught a free swimming Tiger shark by hand before and set out to do it again. After a number of attempts the Tiger's tail was grabbed and a tail rope was attached. The shark was then placed along the side of the Twin Vee where a pec rope was also added. Once the shark was secured it was measured to be 320cm total length.
From the size of the shark, it was thought it could have been pregnant. After snapping a few photographs the shark was released. This shark is likely the same individual that has been spotted on multiple occasions by local dolphin tour boats in the same area.
May 17-25, 08 — Brandon Cole, marine photographer visits Bimini.
Marine photographer, Brandon Cole spent a week at the Sharklab to photograph mangroves around Bimini. He also spent time photographing Sharklab personnel working with juvenile lemon sharks.
Brandon's website brandoncole.com has some absolutely breathe taking images. Take a moment to check it out!
May 12-18, 08 — CCU shark biology course.
BBFS hosted a shark biology course from Coastal Carolina University. Professor Abel and his teaching assistant Katie along with 16 students spent a week in Bimini learning about sharks.
CCU & Sharklab
The course was a combination of lectures and field trips. Dr. Dean Grubbs from Florida State University was a guest lecturer as were several members of the Sharklab staff. BBFS would like to thank Dan, Katie, Dean, David, Colton, Chris, Aaron, Tami (who decided to stay behind), Mallorie, Stacy, Bailey, Stephanie, Samantha, Marianna, Marciena, Leah, Amanda, Genevieve, and Rory. We hope you enjoyed your stay at the Sharklab.
May 8-12, 08 — National Geographic tries to ultrasound a Lemon shark.
Pioneer Productions, in conjunction with National Geographic, traveled to Bimini in an attempt to catch and ultrasound a pregnant lemon shark for an upcoming show called "In the Womb".
Sharklab with Lemon
New born Lemon shark
During the months of April and May, pregnant lemon sharks are known to return to the inner lagoon in Bimini to give birth. Armed with this knowledge the Sharklab crew was successful in locating and tracking a pregnant lemon for the film team.
Once under control an ultrasound was carried out on the shark by Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt, assisted by veterinarian Andrena Garabedian. While filming the sharks' release a total of 14 lemons were born.
DNA was collected from the neonate sharks which were then transported to the safety of the mangroves and released. The mother was released with a satellite pop up tag. Stay tuned for more information on her whereabouts. In the Womb airs October 6th, on Channel 4 (UK). The North American release to follow.
May 3rd, 08 — Spear fishing world record.
While enjoying a day of spearing with Grant & Katie from Bimini Sands a world spearing record was set. Well, almost. A 44 lb. Permit was taken by Grant, Katie, Sean and Eva.
Hawaiian sling is the only legal method of spearing in Bahamian waters, and while this fish captured by Hawaiian sling is actually bigger than the current world records set by spear gun, it was ineligible. The fish was taken by multiple persons and therefore deemed invalid from world record status. The record being 40.5 lbs. for a female spearfisher and 38 lbs. for a male spearfisher. Grant and Katie donated the entire fish to the Sharklab for our shark research needs. Thanks guys!
April 26-30, 08 — UNB shark biology course at BBFS.
Professor Steve Turnbull from the University of New Brunswick (Canada) returned with his class for another successful shark biology course. His students spent 5 days learning about sharks and shark biology.
UNB & Sharklab
The students experienced Lemon, Caribbean Reef, Blacknose, Tiger, Blacktip, Great Hammerhead and Nurse sharks in the wild. They also saw a variety of ray species including an up close and personal feeding of Southern Stingrays. Thanks to Dr. Turnbull and his class (Mark, Chester, Chris, Eliane, Julie, Kimberly, Jessica, Katherine, Brandy, Christine, Emily, Ashley, Anna, Natasha, Susan, and Ann) for another great course.
April 26th, 08 — Twin Vee arrives that the Sharklab.
After much anticipation the Sharklab's newest vessel finally arrives. Twin Vee has graciously provided the Sharklab with a 22' center console. The vessel will replace the aging Aquasport.
Sharklab's 22' Twin Vee
Davey Marine and Mercury Marine were instrumental in outfitting the Twin Vee Catamaran with twin Mercury 115HP EFI outboards. We are very excited with our new research vessel and look forward to a great working relationship with Twin Vee. Special thanks to David East, Tim De Vries, and Dan McCarthy from Twin Vee, Mario Aiello of Davey Marine and Robert Grantham of Mercury Marine.
April 23-26, 08 — Satellite tag pops off at Tiger Beach, Bahamas.
An important piece of information was recently discovered when a satellite tag placed on a Lemon shark in Jupiter, Florida recently popped off near Tiger Beach, Bahamas. Populations observed in Florida do intermix with those in the Bahamas. Tiger Beach is a well known shark diving destination where dive operators offer encounters with large Tiger and Lemon sharks.
Adult Lemon Sharks
Armed with this new information, Sharklab scientists Steve Kessel and Tristan Gutridge travel to Tiger Beach along with Ushiaua and obtain DNA samples from 10 adult Lemon sharks. BBFS hopes to set out bottom monitors at Tiger Beach in June with the hopes that some of our sharks having acoustic transmitters from Bimini and/or Jupiter will be found there.
April 21-22, 08 — Ushiaua French Film team looks for Lemons.
Just days after successful chasing down a 281 pregnant lemon and attaching a satellite tag, the Sharklab crew again set out to search the inner lagoon between North and South Bimini for Lemon sharks. This time it was for a French film program called Ushiaua.
The film team was simply looking for footage of sub-adult or adult lemon sharks swimming in the inner lagoon of Bimini. Little did they know they would become involved in another successful capture of a pregnant Lemon shark. The shark, while being filmed started to delivery her pups. A mad scramble ensued whereby the neonates were all sampled for DNA and released along the edge of the mangrove forests lining the lagoon. Before the female was release the second of 2 satellite tags provided by Demian Chapman and the PEW Institute was attached along with a 4 year acoustic tag. The female was release and tracked for about an hour to ensure she was doing fine. The neonates release will no doubt be recaptured during the Sharklab's annual PIT census in June.
April 19th, 08 — 281 pregnant lemon tagged in Bimini.
A crew returning from East Bimini, led by staff members Kat and Tristan, came across a large adult female Lemon shark. They were successful in capturing the shark, despite being on a small single skiff.
281cm Pregnant Lemon Shark
The shark was worked up and measured in at a total length of 281cm and was pregnant. Earlier that same day, Dr. Demian Chapman with the PEW Institute of Marine Science arrived at the lab with two satellite tags. Dr. Chapman hoped to be able to attach them to female Lemon sharks over the next couple of months. Little did he think just a few hours after stepping off the plane he would be called out into the field to attach one of these 6-month pop off satellite tags. A 4-year acoustic transmitter was also attached to this shark which will no doubt reveal some interesting and important information on the patterns of adult lemon sharks, especially the pregnant females.
March 29, 08 — Bimini Wedding
On a warm sunny Bahamian afternoon Bryan Franks and Joy Young were married on the beach of South Bimini. The newly wed couple first met at the Sharklab. Bryan was a Principal Investigator and Joy was a Volunteer and Assistant Lab Manager.
It was a special time for everyone at the Sharklab. While it wasn't the first marriage between two former "Sharklabers" it does mark the first Sharklab marriage held in Bimini.
It was a remarkable gathering of past and present Sharklab staff. Besides Bryan and Joy, the wedding was attended by ten of the current staff, namely: Doc, Marie, Steve (Best man), Tristan, Joey, Sean, Kat, Emily, Jim, and Duncan. Also in attendance were former staff Grant, Katie, Jackie, Kiwi, Matthias as well as current project student Mark and former project student Jo.
The weather, which had been dreadful prior to the wedding, could not have been better. A clear blue sky and flat calm water.
Fifty friends and family were in attendance for the ceremony, many experiencing Bimini for the first time. We wish Bryan and Joy all the best in their future together and are excited to have Bryan back working with the Sharklab again.
March 19, 08 — Fabian Cousteau's video about Bimini hits YouTube
Fabian Cousteau, grandson to Jacques Cousteau, releases his short film on the environmental problems that face Bimini. Watch this compelling video on YouTube
Also take a moment to visit Ocean Futures Society or Save Bimini.org to learn more about the situation on Bimini and how you can help ensure a sustainable future for this amazing island and the people that live here.
March 19, 08 — Sharklab cleans Shell beach
Staff and volunteers spent a bad weather afternoon doing a beach cleanup in South Bimini. The group removed over 700 pounds of garbage from one of the nicest beaches in Bimini. The target area was Shell beach, near the Bimini Sands Resort & Marina, an area prone to garbage washing ashore.
March 16, 08 — The Sharklab undergoes some renovations
Newly constructed dock
Home improvements have been taking place at the Sharklab. A new dock was built in December, and renovations to Bathroom #1, #2 and the kitchen are almost completed.
The Sharklab staff have been busily working away to make these much needed improvements. Those that have been here in the past will be amazed with these changes.
March 13, 08 — Jupiter work comes to a successful finish
Another season of work with adult Lemon shark aggregations in Jupiter Florida has come and gone. The last of the Sharklab staff has returned to Bimini after a very successful season in Jupiter. 20 Lemon sharks were transmittered and 4 satellite tags deployed. The project wrapped up with a celebration on March 13th. Dr. Samuel Gruber, Dr. Bryan Franks and project leader Steve Kessel would like to thank those that have given their time and resources to this continuing project, namely Walt Sterns, Bill Parks, Cheryl Carroll, Mike Newman, Joanne & John Fraser, Phil Besler, Tony Grogan, Demian Chapman, Todd Gedamke, Dave Kerstetter, Joe Deppen, Chris Berry, Joy Young, Kristene Parsons, Kat Gledhill, Mark Bond, Duncan Brake, and Tristan Guttridge.
March 4-5, 08 — Myth Busters films at the Sharklab
Myth Busters and Shark Defense returned to the Sharklab on March 4th and 5th. Their show will be part of Discovery Channel's Shark Week.
Myth Buster visits the Sharklab
Jamie and Adam were working with Eric, Pat and Craig from Shark Defense. They are demonstrating the effects of magnets as effective shark repellents. Jamie sets out to make a remote control Tiger Shark, using magnets.
Tune in to Shark Week this July to see the results.
February 29, 08 — Sharkwater filmmaker, Rob Stewart visits the Sharklab
Rob Stewart, producer and filmmaker of the award winning documentary SHARKWATER visited the Sharklab along with Tyler MacLeod of Sharkwater Productions Inc. and French TV TF1. Rob and crew were only with us for a single day to shoot some promotional footage for the French release of Sharkwater.
Sharkwater's Rob Stewart
While it was a short visit, it was also action packed. Sharklab and Sharkwater teamed up for a shark dive with Caribbean Reef sharks, some hands on work with our juvenile Lemon sharks and wrapped it all up early the next day by tagging one of five Tiger sharks that were caught on our long lines.
The Sharklab wishes Rob continued success with his film. Look for the North American DVD release in April, 2008. For more information on Sharkwater, Click Here.
January 24, 08 — The Ocean Futures Society speaks out to save Bimini
The Ocean Futures Society, headed by the world famous Cousteau family, has joined hundreds of other voices in the effort to save Bimini's valuable ecology. Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau, has visited Bimini twice in the last 2 months and has posted his thoughts on Bimini's plight. The issue of unsustainable development on Bimini has reached a massive international audience and with the Cousteau's now joining the effort hopefully the government of the Bahamas, as well as those involved with the contentious developments here on Bimini, will listen and act to protect what is left of this unique island chain.
Please take a moment to visit Ocean Futures Society Click Here to learn more about the situation on Bimini and how you can help ensure a sustainable future for the this amazing island, and the people that live here.
January 24, 08 — New volunteers arrive at the Sharklab. Staff leave for Jupiter, FL
The Sharklab welcomes some new members to their research team. Eight new volunteers will be lending a hand over the next month or more. A few members of our staff members are off to Florida for work with the adults lemon shark aggregations that appear this time of year.
For more information on our new volunteers Eva, Christine, Lindsay, Hayley, Jennifer, Michael, Dan, and William see our volunteer section of the website Click Here.
January 16-19, 08 — BBC and History Channel at the Sharklab
BBFS was host to the BBC and History Channel for a few days of filming. The BBC was carrying out a recce of the Sharklab and sharks of Bimini in order to plan additional filming for an upcoming program on sharks. The History Channel was filming a program on the Evolution of Sex and was looking at male and female sharks around Bimini.
January 15-24, 08 — Eckerd College class at the Sharklab for the first time
BBFS welcomed Eckerd College from St. Petersburg, FL for their first visit to the Sharklab to partake in a 7 day Shark Biology course. The students went in the field for shark dives with Caribbean Reef Sharks, feed Southern Stingrays, went shark fishing with the staff, gillnetting for sharks and shark workups as well as lectures in the classroom.
The staff of the Sharklab would like to thank professor Bill Szelistowski (aka Ski), his son and students Carly Cappelluzzo, Carrie Minnick, Alicia Roberts, Michelle Von Sternberg, Lauren Vonnahme, Mike Felder, Dylan Atchley, Kiki Vinita, Caitlin Aguero, Ryan Appold, Pat Gardner, Chris Lynch, Jasmine Steele, Rachel Wencek, and Kerrie Collins.
January 4-13, 08 — University of Miami MBF-514 class returns to the Sharklab
The Sharklab welcomed the University of Miami to their lab for a 9 day tropical marine biology course. This year marked the 10th consecutive year that Professor Dan DiResta returned to Bimini to help teach the students about the marine life found in Bimini's water. The course enjoyed some great weather while snorkeling at Bone Fish Hole, Shell Beach, Turtle Rocks, the Sapona, Triangle Rocks with the Caribbean Reef Sharks and around the sea grass beds and mangroves of Bimini.
December 17, 07 — Closed for the Holiday Season
The Sharklab would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Most of the crew has return home to visit family and friends during the Christmas Holiday, with a couple of volunteers staying behind to look after the lab. The lab officially closed shop on Dec 15th but will reopen again on Jan 2nd when the staff returns to Bimini to prepare for the upcoming university courses. The entire staff will be returning in 2008 along with Mark Bond, our project student. In addition we will be getting some experienced help for the university course from past volunteers.
The Sharklab wishes Sander Dijk all the best on the completion of his Masters project. Sander finished the field work portion of his project and has return to the Netherlands. We wish all the best to our volunteers from 2007, with special thanks going to Ellen Waldrop who was with us for the past 6 months.
BBFS looks forward to some old friends and new faces in 2008. Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas everyone. From the staff and management of the Bimini Biological Field Station - Sharklab.
December 3, 07 — Cousteau visits Bimini
Fabian Cousteau, grandson of famed underwater naturalist Jacques Cousteau, was recently in Bimini to get a first hand view the Bimini Bay site.
Cousteau visits Bimini
Mr. Cousteau took a close look at the impacts the development has had on the mangroves of the North Sound. He also spent some time at East Wells, nearby reefs of Bimini, and took in a shark dive with Caribbean Reef sharks.
He viewed the development by land, by boat and by helicopter. He also interviewed local Bahamians over the controversy of this project, and talked directly to the general manager of Bimini Bay. Mr. Cousteau was accompanied by some old friends of the Sharklab. We were more than happy to lend a helping hand where possible, and look forward to having him keep a close eye on Bimini Bay as it progresses through its various stages of development.
For more information on the Bimini Bay project, Click Here.
November 30, 07 — Bull and Hammerhead sightings in Alice Town
The Sharklab is getting excited with the recent shark sightings in Alice Town. On several occasions 5 large Bull sharks were observed off the marina at the Bimini Big Game Club. The sharks were attracted in by carcasses left out from visiting sport fishing vessels. There have also been three recent Great Hammerhead sightings. One 10 footer observed by Dolphin Expeditions near Turtle Rocks. Another sighted by the Sharklab crew while aboard the Twin Vee Catamaran near Hawksbill Reef at night. The third, an impressive 13' shark, was observed near the South Bimini ferry dock mid afternoon.
November 16-20, 07 — Sharklab and Twin Vee Catamarans
The Sharklab is pleased to announce that Twin Vee Catamarans of Ft. Pierce, Florida has generously agreed to supply the Sharklab with a 22' vessel for use in our shark research projects.
Twin Vee docked at the Beach Club
Tim De Vries and Dan McCarthy of Twin Vee visited the Sharklab during a few days in November. They brought along their impressive 29' catamaran to assist in a shark dive with a group from France. Stay tuned for updates when our new vessel is set to arrive in Bimini.
For more information on Twin Vee Catamarans, Click Here.
November 12, 07 — Fire on East Bimini
Wildfire in East Bimni
The Bimini Biological Field Station teamed with staff from Bimini Sands Resort & Marina to battle a wildfire that had been burning for several days on the island of East Bimini. The fire was located near the scenic area of East Wells Channel.
After being reported to local authorities with little action, a team was assembled and outfitted with buckets, shovels, rakes and garden hoes. By the end of the afternoon the fire had been put out. A follow up check by Bimini Sands staff was done the next afternoon to confirm the fire had indeed been put out. Special thanks to Bimini Sands for organizing the activity and providing their Twin Vee for transportation of our team.
November 3-5, 07 — Visit by Alberto Grosso, GM of Opla World
Alberto Grosso, of Opla World visited the Sharklab as part of a promotional campaign back in his home country of Italy.
Every one in Opla Sharklab T-Shirts
The idea is to relate the seriousness of car accidents to young people by showing the damage done to a person's shirt after experiencing a car accident. The car accident shirts are then compared to a variety of other shirts that experienced different forces, both natural and man made. This showing the severity of the car accidents. Enter the Sharklab. We experimented with methods to have Caribbean Reef sharks bite Alberto's supply of Polo Shirts. We wrapped our shirts on PVC pipes and covered them in bait and let the reef sharks to the rest. It was certainly a different idea but one we were happy to help out with.
November 1, 07 — Tropical Storm Noel hits the Bahamas
The staff and volunteers of the Sharklab spent a couple of days battening down the hatches of the Sharklab in preparation of Tropical Storm Noel. Despite it's devastation in other parts of the Caribbean and at least 1 known death in the Bahamas, Noel had very little impact on Bimini. After a day spent reassembling the Sharklab it was back to work as normal.
The Sharklab becomes home to a familiar face and welcomes a new visitor. For those of you that know Shadow, we are please to say he is now a member of the Sharklab family. For those of you that don't know Shadow, he was our neighbor's Pit Bull, and one of the nicest dogs around. The Sharklab also welcomes a temporary visitor name Chili. Chili is a juvenile Racoon that was found locked in a port-a-potty on the island. Since he was brought to us he has made his home in our large snake tank. Don't worry, the snakes have been relocated during his stay. Chili enjoys chilling out in his log and we like to watch him ever so gently take food from our hands when it is feeding time. He is a great addition for visiting tours.
For more information on our Sharklab pets, Click Here.
September 22, 07 — Shark Naturalist Course for 2008
Dr. Samuel Gruber, Bimini Biological Field Station and Dr. Dean Grubbs, University of Florida will be offering a non-technical course in the general conservation and biology of sharks around mid March 2008. The course features illustrated lectures, frequent field trips, video presentations and personal encounters with several species of actively feeding, free-swimming sharks.
For more information about this exciting course, Click Here.
September 18, 07 — Repellent Trial Video Clip
In August BBFS was host to Dr. John Williams returning for the first time since 2001. Dr. Williams is conducting chemical repellent trials. In the short video clip you will observe a Caribbean Reef shark take the bait and attached balloon filled with a test agent. The green color is a "marker" which acts as a positive indicator that the balloon has burst releasing the agent. No reaction is observed in this trial.
August 22, 07 — Sharklab updating website
Bimini Biological Field Station will be adding to the website in the days to come. The crew carried out a "Mini-PIT" in the South Bimini nursery area in August. A total of 43 lemons were sampled along with a number of nurse sharks. Some of these sharks had already been caught and held in our behaviour trial pens. A number were new sharks not previously recorded by the Sharklab.
Stay tuned for more updates and videos
July 31, 07 — Sharklab Featured on Shark Week
Bimini Biological Field Station will once again be featured on Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Tune into watch 'Perfect Predators'. The show will feature some of the work conducted at BBFS including the social behavior research on the lemon sharks in Bimini. Additionally, the show will highlight the research conducted on the large adult lemon shark aggregations around Jupiter Inlet, Florida. 'Perfect Predators' will be aired on August 1st at 9pm EST in USA. Check your local guide for times and date in your local area. Stay tuned for more Sharklab updates.
June 21, 07 — BBFS Tracks Smalltooth Sawfish
On June 6, the BBFS SharkLab captured, and for the first time ever in the Bahamas, safely attached a transmitter to a Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata). Amazingly, three weeks later, the sawfish was spotted by a tour boat off of South Bimini. The tour boat called in to the SharkLab, and three crews raced out to pick up the signal.
Smalltooth Sawfish along skiff
For the first time ever in the Bahamas, the SharkLab was able to initiate a track on this critically endangered animal. For the next 12 hours, BBFS crews followed the sawfish around the islands.
Starting off the south coast of South Bimini, the Sawfish lead the BBFS crew through the main lagoon, along the east side of Bonefish Hole, and finally 7 nautical miles east of East Bimini. The crew finally had to call off the track when the Sawfish was taking them far out of radio contact.
This unique opportunity provided the first steps to learning more about the habitat of this remarkable animal. By learning what areas are utilized by the Sawfish around Bimini, the BBFS will be able to hopefully aide in the conservation efforts towards this extraordinary animal. Along with many other valuable species, habitat destruction is one of the leading threats to Sawfish, and the BBFS now has the first scientific documentation of their movements through Bimini's marine habitats.
May 15, 07 — PIT 2007 - Web Journal is now Online
The annual census of juvenile lemon sharks in Bimini Lagoon, known as the PIT Project, is once again upon us. The lab has assembled a team to set nets, catch, tag, and sample DNA from our little elasmobranch friends. Follow along as our research progresses. PIT 2007 Introduction Page
May 5, 07 — SharkLab News Update
Due to a unusually busy schedule, and an unusually unreliable internet connection, the BBFS website has not been updated in quite some time . Please take a moment to get caught up on what we've been up to here at the SharkLab.
May 3 - 4 - This spring the BBFS is making a concerted effort to catch adult lemon sharks as they return to Bimini to mate and give birth during April and May. Very little is known about the adult stage of the lemon sharks, but through our genetic studies we have begun to piece together these last pieces of the life history puzzle.
Implanting a transmitter in an adult lemon shark
Over the last two days, we have been able to catch and put transmitters on 4 large adult lemon sharks, including a 265cm pregnant female. Using our array of bottom-monitors, we will be able to trace the movements of these large lemon sharks around Bimini, and see how often and when they use the shallow lagoons around the islands.
Two of the recent captures were especially important to us, as they were in fact adult lemons that we caught and tagged as newborns over 10 years ago. This is direct proof that the lemon sharks that are born around Bimini return to the islands as adults to mate and give birth themselves.
Using the genetic samples taken from each of these sharks, we will be able to fill in our lemon shark "family tree" for Bimini and record the next generation of lemon sharks being born to the original catch of our yearly PIT Program.
Releasing the tagged Bull Shark
April 26 - May 1 - The BBFS hosted 17 students from the University of New Brunswick (Canada) for their annual field course in shark biology. Professor Steve Turnbull joined the students for lectures on shark biology and behavior, as well as multiple field trips around Bimini to see the different species of sharks that inhabit the island. One of the highlights included catching and tagging a huge 258 cm bull shark up in the Alicetown Channel.
April 23 - 26 - SharkDefense was on location at the BBFS with Jen Hile from WildAid. Demersal longlining using chemical shark repellents and habitat loss were discussed for a documentary feature to be aired in China . More information will be posted closer to the release date.
April 20 - On March 4, 2006, the SharkLab crew tagged their first Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) in years. Though we were unable to capture the shark on that occasion, we managed to insert a NMFS dart tag near the shark's dorsal fin that can be used for identification. (Check our News Archive for more details on the exciting event.)
March 2006 Photo of Great Hammerhead being tagged
Little is known about Great Hammerheads, and since the BBFS opened, we have never recaptured any of the few individuals that we have tagged. Amazingly, while en route to the lagoon between the Bimini Islands today, we passed over the same Great Hammerhead that we tagged in March of last year.
Just in shore from the plane wreck off the south coast of South Bimini, in barely 5 feet of water, was this massive 3 meter plus shark. Due to the method used to tag this particular shark, the tags position on the shark's body was slightly different than normal, but this small deviation was enough for us to positively identify the shark by sight.
This marks the first "recapture" data the BBFS has ever acquired on a Great Hammerhead, which is quite remarkable considering the fact that we have never actually caught this shark.
April 10 - Along with members of the local Bimini Tourism office and several Bimini youths, the SharkLab assisted in a clean-up of the waters around the North Bimini government dock today. Tires, bottles and food contatiners have littered the waters for years around this high-traffic area of North Bimini, but after several hours of diving in the harbor, the crystal clear waters finally revealed a trash-free sea floor. Over 1000 pounds of trash was removed from the waters around the government dock, bringing the SharkLab's trash removal total around Bimini to over 6500 pounds in 2007.
April 1 - 2 - A film crew from France visited the SharkLab for two days for a feature on the Gulf Stream. More information will be posted closer to the release date.
March 26 - April 1 - Tigress Productions visited the BBFS to film for an upcoming show on the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Shark Week, and the SharkLab is excited to be featured this year on a show tentatively titled "Ultimate Shark". Please check back to the BBFS website for more information as to the shows air date.
March 22 - In our effort to help clean up Bimini, the SharkLab crew spent the afternoon collecting and removing trash from the roadways on South Bimini today. The SharkLab team broke into 4 smaller groups, each designating their efforts to a specific stretch of roadway. By evening time, we were finally finished and had amassed over 4100 pounds of trash. Along with the Shell Beach Clean-up in February, this brings our trash collecting total to approximately 5500 pounds thus far in 2007.
March 15, 07 — Photographer Brian Skerry's Concern For Bimini
Photojournalist Brian Skerry has been an international ambassador of the beauty of the oceans for over a decade, having published hundreds of striking underwater photos from around the world. National Geographic Magazine's recent "An Eden for Sharks" article featured Brian's work, which included photo highlights from his time spent here on Bimini.
Brian Skerry in Bimini's Mangroves
Brian Skerry's work not only conveys the unique appearance of the subjects he photographs, but also the experiences of the variety of wildlife in the water. Brian has traveled the globe and seen the oceans in all their diversity, and recently had some statements about Bimini and the situation he witnessed here.
"My work as a photographer for has taken me around the world, to some of the most beautiful and unique areas in the oceans, but visiting Bimini was truly something special.
I spent about 2 weeks in Bimini shooting photos for the "Eden for Sharks" article, and I was amazed at how beautiful the waters around the island were. Together with a small crew from the SharkLab, I spent most of my time in and amongst the mangroves swimming with dozens of sharks and hundreds of fish scurrying about. It was breathtaking to see how much wildlife is actually thriving amongst the mangroves of Bimini.
Unfortunately, I saw something in Bimini that disturbed me as well. Large areas of mangroves were being bulldozed, and apparently much more of these habitats have been destroyed since I've been gone. It's a trend that I have seen in many other places, one in which the final outcome results in the loss of precious habitat for wildlife. As the mangroves are removed, marine animals are lost. Around the world these pristine areas are being sacrificed and it is the local communities that suffer by losing a part of their history and culture, and their legacy.
The April issue of National Geographic magazine will feature a story I photographed on the subject of Marine Protected Areas (of New Zealand). New Zealand has taken a progressive role in protecting their oceans and the benefits are clear. The value of MPA's is substantial in creating replenishment zones for local marine wildlife. Establishing protected areas in Bimini would, in my opinion, be a solid investment in the future of this wonderful Bahamian jewel. It will conserve not only the sharks & myriad of other wildlife, but also enrich the people who live there."
March 12, 07 — WildEye Success
The BBFS just finished an exciting week hosting a shark biology / underwater photography course with the U.K.'s WildEye. For the second year in a row, the SharkLab hosted WildEye for their "shark encounter" experience.
Photo by Cheryl Black - WildEye 2007
The course consisted of several lectures and presentations focused on shark biology, led by Dr. Samuel Gruber and Dr. R. Dean Grubbs, as well as introduction and instruction in the field of underwater videography & photography, led by Sune & John Nightingale.
In addition to the lectures, the students were taken around the waters of Bimini, and able to see a variety of sharks and marine life up close and personal. Field trips included experiences with Caribbean Reef sharks, Lemon sharks, Nurse sharks, Blacknose sharks, Southern Stingrays, Bull sharks & Tiger sharks.
For more information about WildEye and this exciting course, Click Here.
March 2, 07 — Gateway Academy Visits the SharkLab
Students from the fifth grade class at Gateway Christian Academy on North Bimini visited the SharkLab for a field trip today. The class is learning about "ecosystems," and came prepared with a list of questions about the unique ecology around Bimini & the Bahamas.
Learning about corals in the SharkLab
To start the visit, the class gathered inside the SharkLab to discuss what an ecosystem is, how it works, and what can be done to protect it. The class learned about all the different aspects of Bimini's marine & terrestrial environments, and how they are all related to one another.
The class then had to come up with a list of ways to protect Bimini's ecosystems, here's what they came up with:
1) Pick up all the garbage, and stop throwing garbage on the ground and in the sea.
2) Don't cut down any more trees or mangroves, and start planting more.
3) Don't eat baby conch, baby lobster or other fish that are too small.
4) Don't hurt or kill endangered species.
5) Tell other people about Bimini's ecosystems and how to protect them.
Students with the Bimini Boa
After the discussion, the class was brought outside to see one of Bimini's endangered species, the Bimini boa, up close & personal. The students were able to see and touch a live boa, as well as learn about it's life history and importance to Bimini's ecology. Some of the students had never seen this beautiful snake before, and even those who were a little timid at first admitted how pretty it was. In the end, all of the students touched the Bimini boa, and one of the teachers accompanying the class even held it for a photo.
Learning about sharks in the back pen
For the grand finale, the whole class was brought out back to the shark pens. Tristan & Katie showed the students the young lemon sharks and pointed out the unique anatomy and sensory systems that sharks possess. The class also learned about the research being conducted by the BBFS, and how important sharks are to the marine ecosystems of the Bahamas, and all the world's oceans. Each student was then able to touch a live lemon shark. The students were extremely excited about touching a live shark, and many of them even snuck back into the line to take another turn at rubbing the shark's skin.
After almost 3 hours of fun and learning at the SharkLab, the students had to head back to school. Hopefully they took with them a new appreciation of Bimini's amazing ecosystems, and hopefully they'll come back soon.
In the article, National Geographic senior writer Jennifer Holland beautifully describes the important role that sharks play in Bahamian waters, and photographer Brian Skerry provides breathtaking images of these amazing animals in their natural habitats throughout the islands.
This fascinating and informative article can be seen online by Clicking Here, or simply pick up a copy of the March 2007 issue of National Geographic.
Bullet - October 2006
February 8, 07 — Bullet Update
The SharkLab received several e-mails last October after posting news about our adoption of a new dog, so we thought we would post a quick update on our pit-bull, Bullet.
Last October, Bullet was saved by a team of incredibly skilled and caring veterinarians who were visiting Bimini. When we got her from them, Bullet weighed about 13 pounds and was extremely weak from malnutrition & infections from wounds, mainly stemming from her ears, which were gruesomely cropped by someone tying them at the base with fishing line.
Since we have had her, Bullet has been on a fairly steady diet of antibiotics to fend off the many infections her body is fighting. But also, for perhaps the first time in her life, she has been on a steady diet.
Bullet - February 2007
As of February, Bullet has grown to weigh 48 pounds, and has become an extremely healthy and active dog. She is very playful and friendly, especially considering how poorly she had been treated by people in her first few months of life. Bullet has been getting regular walks and exercise from the entire crew at the SharkLab, and she seems especially fond of running along side the golf-cart to run errands.
During a recent walk up on North Bimini, several Biminites stopped to exclaim what a pretty dog Bullet was, and we couldn't agree more. Next time you are on South Bimini, please stop the SharkLab for a visit, we're sure Bullet would love to see you.
Shell Beach Clean-Up Crew
February 6, 07 — Beach Clean-Up
The SharkLab crew spent an afternoon last week off the water, and on the beach. In an effort to get more involved with the local community, the SharkLab has decided to try to initiate monthly Island Clean-Up projects on Bimini. The first area to be tended to was Shell Beach, the beach that extends along the western shore of South Bimini and greets most of the boats coming into Bimini.
In one afternoon, the SharkLab Trash Team was able to collect 1379 pounds of trash from the beach and surrounding areas. Beverage containers, motor-oil bottles and shoes constituted the majority of the trash bulk, though there was definitely a lot of variety.
The SharkLab would like to continue this community work throughout 2007, involving both local Biminites and visiting tourists in the effort. Clean-up projects like this are both inspiring and frustrating. It is great to see the positive response from people who want to help take care of the environment, but at the same time it is upsetting to see the amount of trash that is discarded into the oceans everyday by careless people.
More information will be posted in the coming weeks concerning Clean-Up projects on Bimini, so please check back with us soon.
January 23, 07 — SharkLab News Round-Up
The BBFS has been extremely busy since the end of 2006, and thus we've fallen behind on updating our website. Please take a few moments to catch up on our work & research over the last few months...
Brady Barr & Dean Grubbs with a large Nurse Shark
November 29 - December 2 - Brady Barr, reptile expert for the National Geographic Channel, visited the BBFS to shoot for an upcoming episode of Dangerous Encounters. BBFS colleague Dr. Dean Grubbs joined Brady in an attempt to gauge the bite force of different shark species around Bimini. Dean & Brady used a bite-force meter to measure the bites of Caribbean Reef Sharks (C. perezi), Blacktip Sharks (C. limbatus), and Nurse Sharks (G. cirratum). To see which sharks have the strongest bite, stay tuned to Dangerous Encounters on the National Geographic Channel.
December 2-9 - Germany's LOOKS Film Production team visited the SharkLab for a week to film for their upcoming documentary "Of Sharks and Man." Lead by Dirk Steffens, the film crew is looking in-depth at how humans and sharks have interacted throughout history, from shark fishing and attacks to shark conservation. More information will follow closer to the release date of this project.
December 15 - January 5 - Taking our only break from work & research during the year, the BBFS closed for about 3 weeks over the Holiday Season.
January 6-15 - Dr. Dan Diresta and Don Gentile joined us for our annual Tropical Marine Biology course from the University of Miami (MBF 514). Each year students from the University are brought to the BBFS to learn about the unique marine environment here in Bimini. The SharkLab crew leads the class on several field trips to different marine habitats so the students can see first hand these amazing areas. Field trips include snorkeling in and around the mangrove ponds, seagrass flats, coral reefs, rocky shores, sandy beaches, mud flats and artificial reefs of Bimini. For more information on this, check out our Courses page.
January 15-18 - Animal Planet's new show, Ms. Adventure, spent 4days filming with the SharkLab for an upcoming episode. Our colleagues from Shark Defense joined host Rachel Reenstra to examine the behavior of Caribbean Reef sharks and Lemon sharks up close and personal. Rachel's adventure at Bimini took her & Dr. Gruber right into the middle of a feeding group of sharks, to see what happened, check out the upcoming episodes of Ms. Adventure on Animal Planet.
Christian leaning over to tag the Bull Shark
January 19, 2007 - The SharkLab crew took a much deserved Day-Off, and took advantage of the calm weather to do some free-diving on a local wreck just west of South Bimini. Soon after entering the water, the crew was visited by a curious 7.5 ft Bull shark (C. leucas) that was investigating the activity in the water. After swimming with the shark for nearly an hour, the team decided not to pass up an opportunity to catch & tag one of these amazing sharks. Shortly after offering some bait to the Bull, the shark was hooked and brought up along side the boat to be measured, tagged, photographed & released.
Heading back towards the station, the crew decided to make one more stop on a nearby reef, where this time they were greeted by a huge ~10 ft Great Hammerhead (S. mokkaran). Whether we are working or taking a break, we are always trying to find sharks. It was a great reward for several weeks of hard work.
January 6, 07 — Happy New Year
Happy New Year from the BBFS SharkLab team! We are back from a holiday break and starting the year off with our annual Marine Field Biology course from the University of Miami.
The website had not been updated in quite some time, but please check back with us in the coming weeks for updates on our work in Bimini and reviews of the SharkLab's last few months of 2006.
Oct 25, 06 — The Bimini Bullet
The BBFS is proud to announce that we have added a new member to the SharkLab team, her name is Bullet.
A small team of veterinarians visit Bimini a couple of times per year and are usually loaded down with work, both with routine check-ups on healthy pets as well as tending to some very sick and unhealthy animals. This past weekend, they were brought a young pit-bull mix whose owner had apparently tried to crop her ears using fishing line. The dogs ears had been wrapped in mono filament near the base so tightly, that they were basically detached from the dog.
The cruel practice of cropping ears is fairly common with pit-bulls, though now most vets will not perform the procedure. When pit-bulls are used for fighting, the ears are often cropped to prevent the other dog from being able to bite them. Some pit bull owners, though they don't use their dogs for fighting, think that cropped ears makes the dogs look tough. This dog's ears were wrapped with line so that the ear would basically lose circulation, the tissue would die, and the ears would fall off and be left short.
On top of that, she was malnourished and very skinny.
The vets have to consider putting dogs down that are in that bad of shape, but they were so taken with how sweet she was, they decided to operate on her ears and do what they could to save her. After some careful surgery to save what was left of her ears, and a new diet of antibiotics to fend off infections, all that was needed was a new home.
Bullet & Katie
There were a few others interested in taking her home, but with such short notice it would have been difficult for things to work smoothly. Therefore, the SharkLab became a viable option.
We've had her for one day, and everyone is thrilled to have her. She will require a few more weeks to recover from her surgery and neglect, but she seems to be getting livelier by the moment.
For a dog that seems to have had a very hard a first few months of life, she is amazingly sweet and can't seem to get enough of people petting her.
Next time you are on South Bimini, feel free to stop by and see her.
The BBFS would like to express our highest praise to the team of veterinarians that saved Bullet. A huge Thank You goes out to Dr. Grant, Martha Kehoe, Consie von Gontard and the rest of their team.
September 28, 06 — Save the Bahamas Coalition
The first ever "Save the Bahamas" conference is taking place this weekend in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Representatives from around the Bahamas, including Bimini, will gather to discuss ways of promoting and preserving local rights, culture and envirnonments.
To read more about the Save the Bahamas Coalition, Click Here.
August 27, 06 — Concern From a MythBuster
In recent months there has been a surge of news concerning resort developments on the "Out-Islands" of the Bahamas, including Bimini. This issue has drawn international attention, as not only are the local communities concerned about their future, but others who have grown to love these islands are also pleading for more responsible development.
Now Jamie Hyneman, host of TV's popular show MythBusters, has added his voice to the issue. The MythBusters pride themselves on separating facts from fiction, and as a former dive operator, Jamie has seen for himself the negative effects irresponsible developments can have on the oceans.
Jamie Hyneman - Host, MythBusters
"A season or so ago we shot an episode of Mythbusters on Bimini and
grew to love the
place. It was beautiful and relatively untouched until just recently.
As a seasoned diver, and operator of a dive charter business in the
a number of years, I have seen first hand the destruction that tourist
development can cause
on coral reefs and mangrove forests. These ecosystems are interdependent
and fragile and
are already under a great deal of stress due to human activity.
We should not allow huge developments to come in and wipe out these
this is what is happening in Bimini right now.
Unless people put a stop
to this destruction
these beautiful areas will be gone forever."
August 25, 06 — August Longline Catch
The BBFS just finished a hugely successful longline set, catching and tagging 20 sharks in just 24 hours. The sharks caught included 14 Blacktip sharks (C. limbatus), 4 Nurse sharks (G. cirratum), one 265 cm male Lemon shark (N. brevirostris), and a large male Bull shark (C. leucas).
This is one of the larger numbers of sharks the BBFS has ever caught in a 24 hour period, partly due to the large amount of Blacktip sharks that are currently mating around Bimini.
All of the sharks caught were tagged and released.
August 1, 06 — SharkLab Featured During Shark Week
The Dicovery Channel's annual Shark Week is underway, and this year's programs will showcase two different shows featuring the Bimini Biological Field Station.
July 14, 06 — Mangroves of Bimini
The Bimini Biological Field Station has recently added a new page to our website. In our research in and around Bimini, it is impossible for us to not recognize the importance of Bimini's mangroves to the ecology of these islands. Therefore we've added a new Mangroves of Bimini page, to help others learn more About Bimini and all these islands have to offer.
To view the new Mangroves of Bimini page, Click Here. And check back often for new photos and information to be added.
July 8, 06 — PIT 2006 Summary
PIT 2006, one of our most successful PIT tagging campaigns ever, is officially over and done. The catch results of PIT 2006 have been briefly analyzed, and show some interesting trends. Matt Potenski, who was responsible for photo-documenting the project this year has added a Summary page to the PIT 2006 coverage on the BBFS website for people to view the results, and get a summary of this year's contribution to this 12 year long natural-history project.
To see the coverage of PIT 2006, please use the side-bar on the right side of this page. And to see the PIT 2006 Summary, Click Here.
July 2, 06 — Another New Website Created www.SaveBimini.org
A powerful new website has just been created in addition to the recent www.restrictbiminibayresort.org site. This new site may have the biggest impact yet in the fight to preserve Bimini's ecology, as it is the product of the people most affected by this issue, the people of Bimini.
Please check out the new www.savebimini.org, and help support the Save Bimini Association.
June 28, 06 — New Website Created to Help "Save Bimini"
A new website has been created to bring more attention to the controversy surrounding North Bimini's Bimini Bay Resort & Casino development.
June 25, 06 — Golf Course Plans Under Fire
Environmental groups are again taking aim at North Bimini's controversial Bimini Bay Resort & Casino development. The current attention is focused on the plans to include a Robert Trent Jones Jr. Golf Course as part of the resort. The golf course plans show North Bimini's northern tip being consumed by the course.
To see the latest campaign news from the Global Response- Environmental Action & Education Network, Click Here.
Back in 2000, the northern tip of North Bimini was shown as the western border for Bimini's proposed Marine Protected Area. Bimini was desginated as the highest priority site in the entire Bahamas for a Marine Protected Area, unfortunately the reserve has not been officially established yet. Now, the Bimini Bay Resort & Casino seems to have alternate plans for this pristine wetland.
Please stay tuned to the BBFS website for more information on this issue. And Click Here for additional background information.
June 1, 06 — PIT 2006
2006 marks the thirteenth year of the BBFS's yearly PIT tagging census of the juvenile lemon sharks of Bimini. This year's PIT session will be photo-documented by long-time Shark Lab colleague, Matt Potenski. To view Matt's journal and photos of PIT 2006, please click the PIT 2006 sidebar on the right-side of this page.
May 30, 06 — Miami Beach Rod & Reel Club Fights for Bimini
One of the oldest, most famous fishing clubs in the world, the Miami Beach Rod & Reel Club, has just launched a new webpage blasting the Bimini Bay Resort & Casino development on North Bimini. To view this new, informative page Click Here.
And to read more about the Miami Beach Rod & Reel Club, please visit their website by Clicking Here.
May 23, 06 — Bimini's Elusive Dwarf Boa
Last night marked another first for the BBFS crew, when we found and captured one of Bimini's highly elusive Dwarf or Ground Boas (Tropidophis canus curtus). This is the first of this species that has ever been seen by anyone from the BBFS, and possibly the first official sighting of this sub-species in over 50 years. Amazingly, the individual that was captured was the second of the Dwarf Boas seen within about 30 minutes. The first snake was able to hide within a concrete wall, but just 20 feet away was another individual.
To read more about this fascinating, and very rare snake, please view our Reptiles of Bimini page.
May 15, 06 — Shark Defense News
Mike Herrmann, one of the Shark Lab's colleagues at Shark Defense LLC, was recently awarded the top prize from the World Wildlife Fund in their contest to devise new ideas for better, more selective fishing. To read more about Mike's fantastic accomplishment, Click Here.
May 16, 06 — News Round-Up
The BBFS has had an extremely busy few weeks, hosting 2 shark biology courses, several film crews, and other guest researchers. Here is a quick run down of the latest happenings at the Shark Lab:
Dr. Peter Tolson taking data on a large Bimini Boa
April 11 - 18 - Mangrove & reef specialist Dr. Ivan Nagelkerken visited the BBFS to conduct a comparative study on Bimini's mangrove, seagrass & coral reef habitats. Dr. Nagelkerken spent the week doing visual surveys on Bimini's nursery habitats, and trying to quantify the importance of Bimini's mangroves and seagrass to the coral reefs. This visit was part of a study being conducted throughout the Caribbean, and will lend valuable insight as to the importance of marine nurseries.
April 18 - 22 - Dr. Peter Tolson from the Toledo Zoo & Dr. Miguel Garcia from the Dept. of Natural Resources in Puerto Rico came to the BBFS for preliminary work on a possible study on Bimini's beautiful endemic snake, the Bimini Boa. They were able to catch and tag 6 boas in just a few days, possibly signifying healthy populations of this nationally protected snake. For more information from Dr. Peter Tolson about the Bimini Boa, Click Here.
Dr. Gruber with UNB students in the mangroves
April 25 - 30 - The BBFS hosted a shark biology course with Professor Steve Turnbull and a class from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. Students were taught about the biology and natural history of the world's sharks, and given the opportunity to see the sharks of Bimini in the wild. Field trips included a shark dive with Caribbean reef sharks, hand feeding Southern stingrays at Honey Moon Harbour, feeding a wild group of juvenile lemon sharks in a hidden mangrove pond, and much more.
Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe
April 30 - May 2 - The Discovery Channel's hit show Dirty Jobs, hosted by Mike Rowe, visited the BBFS to shoot a show for this years upcoming Shark Week. The focus of the show was the chemical repellents being tested at the BBFS by Shark Defense, which were originally extracted from rotting shark carcasses. Mike Rowe helped Shark Defense's Eric Stroud & Mike Herrmann process a blacktip shark (C. limbatus), that was killed by a fisherman and spent the last 3 weeks rotting in a sealed plastic barrel. To see how Mike held up and what happened next, tune in to Shark Week this July on the Discovery Channel.
May 10 - Discovery Kids' (Canada) popular show Mystery Hunters stopped by the Shark Lab for one afternoon to ask Dr. Gruber for help in their current adventure. The many mysteries of Bimini's waters lured the show down, as well the chance to take a look at the amazing sea creatures that can be found here, and even the chance to look for some sea creatures that can't be found anywhere.
The BBFS's 22 ft AquaSport and a 351 cm Tiger Shark
May 9 - 15 - The annual shark biology course from Coastal Carolina University, with professor Dr. Dan Abel, had another terrific trip out the BBFS this week. Dr. Gruber, Dr. R. Dean Grubbs, and Dr. Abel provided in-depth lectures on the biology and natural history of sharks, and the students were able to take several field trips and participate in the research being conducted here at the Shark Lab. A highlight of the course was the deep-water longline, which was done for the first time last year during the CCU course. This year's deep-water catch included 4 Bigeye Sixgill sharks (H. nakamuri), a 251 cm Bignose shark (C. altimus), a huge 351 cm Tiger shark (G. cuvier), and 3 more species.
April 19, 06 — "The Changing Face of Bimini"
The April, 2006 issue of Florida Sportsman magazine has a fantastic article titled, "The Changing Face of Bimini". Assistant editor Terry Gibson gives a vivid account of a recent fishing trip to Bimini and the amazing waters that have historically provided for those that rely on them, either for sport, recreation, or sustenance. Conversely, Gibson describes how Bimini has changed recently due to the tragedies that plagued the island over the last year, including Hurricane Wilma, the Chalk's plane crash, and the Compleat Angler fire.
While Bimini is recovering from these terrible events, the article states, there is another issue that has sportfishermen concerned. The article continues:
"Environmental news, however, is grim. Many fear the Bimini Bay development on North Bimini, by developer Gerardo Capo, will further degrade of destroy some of the reasons people love coming to the island - the flats, reefs and pelagic fisheries."
"Reportedly, conchs have disappeared and bonefish are few and far between. Nearly every species of fish that drives the Bimini economy depends upon grassflats at some life stage and usually during their most vulnerable, earliest juvenile stages."
In regards to the recent clearing of the North Sound's mangroves, the article explains,
"Studies in the Caribbean have proved that mangroves, which are habitats for older juveniles, strongly enhance fish populations on nearby coral reefs. The best of these studies, a 2004 report published in the journal Nature by Dr. Peter Mumby, found that "The biomass of several commercially important species is more than doubled when adult habitat is connected to mangroves.""
The article concludes with the advice of a Florida naturalist,
"If you love sport fishing, diving and the natural world, then don't buy into Bimini Bay."
This weekend, a team from the Discovery Channel made a visit to the Shark Lab to film for show to be part of this year's upcoming Shark Week.
Big cat expert Dave Salmoni, and crew, spent two days interviewing Dr. Gruber, and seeing the sharks of Bimini face-to-face. The footage filmed at the BBFS is for a show tentatively titled "Man-Eating Sharks : The Truth", and is set to air during late July's Shark Week. More details will be posted on our website as the date nears.
And on the 30th of April, Discovery will be coming back to film for their hit show, Dirty Jobs. Stay tuned to the BBFS website for more information.
April 7, 06 — Sharks of Bimini-101
Bimini All Ages School Grade 10
This week, the BBFS Staff was invited to give a presentation at the All Ages School on North Bimini showcasing the sharks of Bimini.
Mr. Francis' 10th Grade science class hosted BBFS lab managers Katie Grudecki & Grant Johnson for a 1 hour lecture about the different sharks found around Bimini, and why these animals are important to the island. The students were able to see large, detailed photos of all the different shark species, and were quite surprised to realize that all of the photos were taken right here in Bimini. The students had tons of questions to ask about these amazing sharks, and many walked away with a completely new understanding of them.
On Friday, the students visited the BBFS for a field trip, and were able to see live juvenile lemon sharks in our holding pens just off our back beach. In addition to the sharks and photographs here at the station, the students were eager to see the Bimini boa, and a few of the students even worked up the courage to hold this endemic snake for the first time in their lives.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience, especially for us at the Shark Lab.
A huge 'Thank You' to Mr. Francis and the 10th grade class of the Bimini All Ages School
April 6, 06 — 9-Year-Old Petitions For Bimini
A 9-year-old schoolboy from the U.K. has gathered almost 100 names for a petition to save the precious mangroves of Bimini.
To read the petition, written by young Josef Patton, please Click Here.
March 21, 06 — Bimini Boa Bonanza
Katie holding the catch of the day.
Bimini's beautiful endemic snake, the Bimini Boa, has been getting a bit of a public-opinion makeover lately. People who, just a few months back, would flee from or even kill the boas they encountered are now stopping by the BBFS to get their photo taken with one.
In order to help educate both locals and tourists about this amazing reptile, the BBFS has been tagging Bimini boas, and also have kept a rotating resident boa on site at the station. Visitors to the Shark Lab are now able to see, up close and personal, how amazing and important these snakes are. We have even had guests from Nassau, Bahamas stop by asking to see the snakes.
Yesterday, during a day-off, five members of the Shark Lab crew went hiking through the woods of East Bimini, an area of Bimini practically untouched by humans. Within two short hours, the BBFS had caught and tagged 4 new Bimini boas. To top off the day, after returning to South Bimini, a fifth boa was caught and tagged right off the side of the road near Bimini Sands.
The boas ranged in size from a small 63 cm juvenile, up to the 142 cm individual found on South Bimini. These five snakes officially doubled our collective database on the amazing Bimini Boa. For more information on this beautiful snake, Click Here.
March 18, 06 — "Working Hard to Help Preserve the Environment"
Roughly halfway up the western shore of Bimini's North Sound lagoon, hidden amongst the mangroves, a small creek curved back to a shallow pond where young lemon sharks could regularly be found in great numbers. In addition to the widely know benefits of the North Sound's mangroves, small creeks like this one provide additional refuge for young sharks and also play host to dozens of other marine and terrestrial animals. This hidden creek in the North Sound was an important site included in our recent study of the habitat utilization of lemon sharks. Unfortunately, this creek no longer exists, nor do any of the mangroves in the southern half of the North Sound's western shore.
Extending hundreds of feet into the lagoon waters, the tread mark scars of bulldozers lend insight as to the fate of this beautiful mangrove pond. Not only are the mangroves gone along the shoreline, but also well beneath the high-tide line.
In the foreground of the photo at left, a small lemon shark can be seen swimming in what used to be ideal habitat. Young lemon sharks, like the one in the photo, have a relatively small home range and rely on their environment to feed and protect them. In an area that used to be "teeming with life", this young shark will now have to find another home.
Hopefully the next phase of efforts to "preserve" the mangroves of Bimini will not include bulldozing them.
March 8, 06 — National Bird Visits Bimini
The Greater Flamingo, with the Sapona on the horizon.
The National Bird of the Bahamas, the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), made a rare visit to South Bimini yesterday. This beautiful bird landed on the sand flats of Nixon's Harbor, just out back from the BBFS. Though the populations of flamingos are recovering on other islands in the Bahamas, they are a rare sight in Bimini. Only a handful of individual birds have been seen around the island in the last few years, including one sighted numerous times in Bimini's North Sound lagoon last year.
Bimini is home to many other beautiful & unique animals, and the BBFS has launched a new page to showcase some of them. Check out the new Reptiles of Bimini page.
March 4, 06 — Great Hammerhead Tagged
The tagging crew following the Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)
While Great Hammerheads (Sphyrna mokarran) are quite common around Bimini during the winter months, the BBFS has not successfully caught and tagged one in almost 5 years. Most of the Great Hammerheads around Bimini are quite large, well over 3 meters (TL), and manage to break the hooks when caught during our long-lining surveys. Our luck changed yesterday when a large (~330 cm TL) individual was spotted swimming near our long-line array.
Rather than risk the chance of losing the shark to a broken hook, or to the possibility of the shark not taking a hook at all, a crew from the BBFS drove out to Bimini's central lagoon, and lab manager Katie Grudecki was able to tag the free-swimming shark from a boat with a NMFS dart tag. While the exact length of the shark is unknown, the calm clear waters allowed the crew to photograph the animal extensively to get good estimations, and determine that it was female.
Tagging this individual will possibily lead to new information as to the movements, behavior and life history of this beautiful species of shark.
March 3, 06 — Development to be Scaled Back
The controversial Bimini Bay Resort & Casino has agreed to scale back their development yet again. In an article released by the Nassau Guardian, it is stated that developers "will forego usage of the controversial eco-sensitive land and will return it to the government and to the people of Bimini and The Bahamas".
It is not clearly defined exactly what the "controversial eco-sensitive land" is, but hopefully North & East Bimini's status as the highest priority Marine Protected Area in the Bahamas will finally be recognized as a result.
To read the article from the Nassau Guardian, Click Here.
For more information about this controversial issue, Click Here.
January 28, 06 — January in Review
Happy New Year from the Bimini Biological Field Station. The Sharklab has had a busy beginning to the year, and has subsequently fallen behind in updating our website. Here is a quick review of the Sharklab's News for January:
January 3 - The BBFS started the New Year with an addition to the staff, our new Co-Principal Investigator Tristan Guttridge.
January 3 - 12 - Dr. Dan Diresta joined us for another successful year of our annual Tropical Marine Biology course from the University of Miami ( MBF 514 ). Every year students from the University of Miami come to the BBFS to learn about the complexities of tropical marine biology, and get hands-on experience in the beautiful waters around Bimini, Bahamas. To read more about this exciting field course, check out the Courses page.
January 13 - Tragedy struck again for the island of Bimini. The Compleat Angler, one of the most historic sites on the island, was consumed by a fire early Friday morning. This unbelievable event took not only decades of Bimini's history and culture, but also the life of one of the island's beloved residents, Julian Brown. To read CNN.com's coverage of the story, Click Here.
January 12 - 21 - WildEye (UK) joined the BBFS team for a course in shark biology and wildlife film training. Dr. Dean Grubbs and Dr. Samuel Gruber lead the shark biology lectures, with Piers Warren and Sune Nightingale leading the photo and video instruction. To see photos from this first-time-ever course, Click Here.
January 21 - With the end of the WildEye course, we started our new year in field research with our new crew of volunteers. To check out the current Sharklab volunteer crew, Click Here.
January 25 - Today marked the first official 'recapture' of a tagged Bimini Boa. The BBFS has begun PIT tagging this amazing endemic snake in order to gain insight as to the local populations, and thus provide more information to Biminites and curious researchers from around the globe. To read more about the Bimini Boa, Click Here.
Update: As a response to the terrible fire this month on North Bimini, there has been an outpouring of support and the advent of an attempt to regain some of the history lost in the Compleat Angler blaze. Long-time visitor to the island, "Bimini" Bill Parks is leading the effort to compile copies of the photos that adorned the walls of the Angler, in order to donate the memories back to Bimini. Anyone who owns photographs, either digital or film, of the Compleat Angler Hotel is urged to send high resolution copies of their photos to Bill Parks, either by mail or e-mail. Any photos showing the inside, or outside, of this Bimini landmark are welcomed.
Bill Parks asks that any e mails sent to him be kept to between 5-10 megs, and that all photos sent are accompanied by a brief description of when they were taken, and by who.
or regular mail at:
919 SW 27th Place
Boynton Beach, Florida 33435
Please help out if you can, for Bimini.
December 20, 05 — Tragedy
The news of the tragic crash of the Chalk's seaplane near Miami Beach, FL has devastated people from around the globe, and has hit especially hard on the island of Bimini. Twelve individuals from Bimini perished in the crash.
To read more about the passengers in a recent article from the Freeport News, Click Here .
And more from an article in the Palm Beach Post, Click Here.
The entire crew from the BBFS sends it's thoughts and prayers to all who are affected by this tragedy, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families of those lost in the crash.
December 15, 05 — Happy Holidays from the Sharklab
The BBFS is closing up for the holiday season, but will be back up and running starting January 2, 2006. We will start the year off hosting not one, but two courses. One from the University of Miami, and the other from Wild Eye, UK. Check the Courses page for more info.
The staff of the BBFS wants to wish everyone a happy holiday season, and all the best in 2006.
November 26, 05 — New Bimini Boa Photos Posted
The BBFS staff recently found two more specimens of Bimini's beautiful endemic snake species. This endangered snake has been getting some much deserved attention on the island lately, with many Biminites realizing the benefits of having this rodent eating reptile around.
To see some new photos of the Bimini boa and read a great article submitted by Peter Tolson of the Toledo Zoo, Click Here.
November 23, 05 — 'Boycott Threat Looms'
The Bahama Journal released a story today citing a potential boycott of Hilton Hotels. The boycott is aimed at bringing more attention to the hotel chain's involvement with the controversial develoment on North Bimini. Environmental organizations from around the globe have been pleading with the developer and the government of the Bahamas for years in attempts to preserve Bimini's mangrove wetlands. Additionally, more and more of the residents of Bimini are expressing their concerns for their island's ecology (See News item below).
To read the Bahama Journal's article Hilton Boycott Threat Looms, Click Here.
November 4, 05 — 'Bimini Residents Feel Betrayed'
The Nassau Guardian, one of the Bahamas biggest newspapers, recently published another article focusing on North Bimini's controversial development titled "Bimini Residents Feel Betrayed." Bimini's local District Council threatened to stage another protest outside the gates of the development if their concerns weren't addressed. One of the important points made by the Council in the report, is that the development is having a large negative impact on Bimini's precious environment. A local fishing guide is quoted, adding that due to the ecological damage from the project, "conchs have disappeared, and the amount of fish depleted from the flats."
November 1, 05 — Hurricane Wilma Hits Bimini
Last week's hurricane, Wilma, battered the Bimini islands as it passed through Florida and swung out into the Atlantic ocean. The most severe damage occurred on South Bimini's western shore, where several homes and buildings were destroyed by the pounding waves. One of the biggest hits from Wilma came to the Bimini Beach Club hotel, a building that has stood on South Bimini's south-western corner for decades.
The flooded front yard
The damage at the Sharklab was less severe, fortunately. High winds and surging waters made more of a mess than anything. There was some minor damage to the roof, dock, boat ramp, and one of our storage sheds was blown away.
The good news is that no one on Bimini was hurt during the storm, and while the power has been knocked out for the past week, the huge clean-up and rebuilding process is already well underway.
October 11, 05 — The Elusive Bimini Boa
The BBFS website has added a new page dedicated to the elusive Bimini Boa constrictor. The Bimini Boa is a snake endemic to the Bimini islands and, like Bimini's marine animals, is facing serious threats due to the development on North Bimini.
To read more about the amazing Bimini Boa, Click Here.
The BBFS would like to thank Peter J. Tolson, of the Toledo Zoo, for contributing his time and knowledge of the Bimini Boa.
September 12, 05 — Update on Bimini Development
More and more individuals and organizations get involved everyday, and more and more evidence mounts to support what people have been saying all along, that Bimini
s mangrove nurseries need to be protected...yet the destruction continues.
At the forefront of the questions of 'prevention and reconstruction' following Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the American Gulf coast, was the belief that America's wetlands need to be restored to protect coastal cities from such crippling storm damage and erosion... yet Bimini's healthy mangrove wetland is slated to be destroyed.
In January of 2000, the Bahamas government declared it's intention to create a network of permanent Marine Protected Areas throughout the country, and on a prioritized list of over 30 sites declared North Bimini number 1 ... yet the Bimini Bay Resort and Casino's Land Use Plan shows this area turned into a golf course and residential housing area.
The contrast in ideas about what is best for Bimini could not be greater.
Recently, more and more publicity has arisen concerning this issue, but no one is quite sure of the effect.
The Shark Trust has been very vocal in it's efforts to maintain Bimini's ecological integrity, and recently has pushed this issue further forward.
To read the latest from the Shark Trust, Bimini Destruction Press Release - Click Here
The BBFS's Dr. Samuel Gruber recently resigned from the Bahamas National Trust in protest to the continued destruction on Bimini. The BNT is a non-governmental orgranization mandated with the conservation of the natural and historic resources of the Bahamas. Dr. Gruber had been a BNT council member for 16 years.
To read Dr. Gruber's resignation letter, Click Here.
And read a recent article concerning the Bimini development from Bahamas newspaper the Nassau Guardian, Click Here.
August 30, 05 — Bimini in Washington Post
The Washington Post has just published an article on the current threats facing many marine species. Development on Bimini was one of the key issues they looked at in this front page feature.
August 21, 05 — PIT Tagging Program in Marquesas Key is Currently Underway
Dr. Gruber and a team of volunteers are conducting thier annual research off Marquesas Key, a small island about 30 miles west of Key West, FL. During the week of August 21 to the 27, they will catch, tag, and release several juvenile and sub-adult lemon sharks in the area.
More information will be posted once Dr. Gruber and his crew returns.
August 14, 05 — Tourism Concern focused on Bimini Tourism Concern, an organization based out of the UK, has just begun a campaign urging tourists to voice their concern about the destruction happening on North Bimini due to development.
July 19, 05 — New 'Save Bimini' Poster Unveiled Global Response Environmental Action & Education Network has just unveiled a new poster to bring attention to the huge threats facing the Bimini islands. Bimini's pristine marine habitats are being destroyed as you read this, jeopardizing one of the most ecologically important areas in the Bahamas. The more attention this issue recieves, the more likely it will end favorably for the people and wildlife of Bimini.
The poster shown below can be purchased through Global Response by clicking here. The image is also available on t-shirts and postcards.
July 12, 05 — BBFS Featured on Discovery's Shark Week
The Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week starts this Sunday, July 17, 2005. A two-hour Mythbusters - Jaws Special, featuring footage shot at the Bimini Biological Field Station, will start off the week of shark programs.
To read about the Mythbusters visit to the Sharklab, Click here, and be sure to tune into this years Shark Week on the Discovery channel.
Tread marks in the mud that used to be mangroves.
July 7, 05 — Bulldozing Bimini's Mangroves
Despite years of opposition from concerned people from around the globe, despite enormous evidence of the area's ecological importance, and despite a recent outcry from the people of Bimini, in the last week the Bimini Bay Resort and Casino has begun removing the mangroves from North Bimini's North Sound lagoon. One of the most ecologically important areas in Bahamas is being torn apart to accomodate the development of condominiums and a casino.
Bimini's North Sound lagoon is home to near 100 species of fish and invertebrates, and the mangrove roots themselves are home to 37 species. Commercially important species like conch, lobster, and snapper all thrive in nursery areas like the North Sound and thus replenish fish stocks around Bimini, and throughout the Bahamas. The North Sound lagoon is also home to the endangered Smalltooth Sawfish, and a popular spot for Bimini's Bonefishing guides. Destroying this area will most likely cause all of this to disappear.
Piles of mangroves torn from the ground pushed aside for later disposal
Recent meetings held on North Bimini concerning this development left many people on the island feeling secure that Bimini's precious ecology would not be traded for gambling and marina space for foreigners. Now there is a feeling of desperation.
These photos show what used to be a mangrove forest. What appears to be large clusters of spared mangroves, are actually no more than piles of mangroves torn from the ground and pushed aside. Hundreds of meters of the North Sound's shoreline has been permanently destroyed, but a larger area of mangroves still remains, for now.
This has come as devastating news to a growing number of people from around the world that have pleaded for the protection of this area, but all is not lost. Anyone concerned with this issue is urged to get involved, there is still time to Protect Bimini.
June 11, 05 — PIT 2005 is Underway
The BBFS is currently underway with the 11th consecutive year of our annual PIT Tagging Program. Over 100 juvenile lemon sharks have already been caught and tagged in the first few days of this year's study.
Stay tuned to the BBFS website for more photos, information, and updates on PIT 2005.
And to read more about our PIT Tagging Program, Click Here.
Biminites form a blockade outside Bimini Bay Resort
May 23, 05 — Biminites "Take a Stand For Their Land"
Today in Bimini, a crowd gathered at the gate to the Bimini Bay Resort & Casino to peacefully protest. Biminites both young and old stood together to show their solidarity in opposing the loss of "their land" to foreign developers. The first order of business for the demonstration was to create a roadblock. A large number of Biminites have become enraged that their own island is being cut off from them by a large, guarded gate that leads to the development area. The protesters decided that if they were not going to be let on the northern ~70% of their home island, then they weren't going to allow anyone from Bimini Bay to the piece of the island they still felt in control of, Porgy Bay, Bailey Town & Alice Town. A small stage was set up, with accompanying tents, right in the middle of the entrance road to the resort, and a bulldozer parked behind the stage set the backdrop to the barricade.
Headline: 'Bay Blockade Planned'
Once the crowd had gathered, and the Bahamian media had arrived, local Reverends, Pastors, Council Members, and citizens gave passionate speeches expressing their frustrations and concerns about how the development is threatening their way of life. Among the issues of greatest concern were the lack of jobs created thus-far for Bahamians, the restricted access Biminites will have to the majority of land on North Bimini, and the destruction that the islands' environment & natural resources will face, both on land and in the sea. Biminites vowed to repeatedly demonstrate until they were listened to, both by the developers and by governement officials in the Bahamas.
After years of controversy surrounding this development, those concerned with sustaining Bimini's environment and culture are finally gaining momentum. To find out more about this issue, and to help support the people of Bimini, Click Here.
More information will be posted as this issue develops further...
Freeport News reports on Monday's Demonstration, Click Here
Nassau Guardian reports - Officials gather in Bimini in response to Monday's Demonstration, Click Here.
May 14, 05 — CCU Course a Wild Success
The BBFS just finished 2005's wildly successful Field Studies in Shark Biology from Coastal Carolina University. To read a brief review of this year's course, Click Here.
May 9, 05 — Bimini in the News Again
NBC News 6 in South Florida aired a story about the island of Bimini, and the BBFS Sharklab last night. To see this latest story, check out the NBC 6 website by clicking Here.
May 8, 05 — CCU Course Starts Today
Starting today the Sharklab will be hosting the yearly Field Studies in Shark Biology course from Coastal Carolina University. Professors Dr. Dan Abel, Dr. Dean Grubbs, and Dr. Samuel Gruber will be leading this years course, teaching the students everything they need to know about the sharks of the world, both past and present. For more information on this course, check out the Courses page of our website. And stayed tuned to the BBFS website for more photos and updates from this years course.
May 4, 05 — New Boating & Cruising Guide for Bimini Vantage Point Boating & Cruising Guides have just released the updated 2nd edition of the Bimini Cruising Guide. This book is "the only in-depth guide for Bimini in the Bahamas," covering everything from fishing spots to restaurants, travel information to out-of-the-way local hang-outs. The new cruising guide also has a great article on the Sharklab, and the work we do in Bimini.
The new Vantage Point Boating & Cruising Guide can be picked up at several shops around Bimini, or you can check our their website for more information by clicking here.
The BBFS wants to extend a special 'Thank You' to Dave Kresge and Dorie Cox from Vantage Point, for their support of the Sharklab and the island of Bimini.
April 8, 05 — More Articles Concerned for Bimini
More and more people, magazines, and websites are showing their concern for Bimini's precious ecology. In recent months, dozens of articles have been written in response to the ongoing development on North Bimini, and in favor of establishing the development area as a Marine Reserve, as proposed by the Bahamian Government. Please check out the latest news on this issue in the links below:
Award-winning author Lynne Cherry recently visited Bimini, and the BBFS. She has posted her concern for Bimini's mangroves on her website. To read the article Click Here.
The Shark Trust and the Bahamas Tribune recently discussed the problems facing Bimini as well. To see the latest news from the Shark Trust Click Here.
Please take the time to read these articles, as well as the News items below. This is an issue where you can make a profound difference, so if this seems important to you, please get involved and help us Protect Bimini.
The article is titled Lemon Sharks Under Threat
March 22, 05 — DIVE Magazine (UK) Features News from Bimini
DIVE Magazine, from the United Kingdom, is currently featuring an article titled Lemon Sharks Under Threat. This article describes the serious and immediate jeopardy that Bimini's marine wildlife is facing. Please pick up the latest issue of DIVE Magazine to read the full article.
And to read more about the issue detailed in this magazine article, see the News item listed below.
And for more information on how you can help Protect Bimini, Click Here.
February 28, 05 — Concern for Bimini's Ecology Gaining Momentum
The Shark Trust and Pew Institute for Ocean Science, two international organizations dedicated to marine conservation, are helping raise awareness to the plight of Bimini's precious ecology. Their websites currently feature several articles on Bimini, and the work being done by the BBFS. The preservation of the North Sound lagoon on North Bimini, and protection of the endangered smalltooth sawfish (P. pecinata) are two key issues addressed by the Trust and Pew Institute towards Bimini.
To visit the Shark Trust website, Click Here.And to see the article on the Pew Institute website Click Here.
The Shark Trust is also featuring photographs by BBFS manager Grant Johnson in their Shark Photo of the Month page.
February 27, 05 — Dr. Gruber & Crew Featured in Miami Herald Article
The Miami Herald has just published an article about work that Dr. Gruber has been conducting in the waters off Jupiter, FL. Over the past few weeks, Doc and a small crew have been trying to locate and tag large lemon sharks that are a part of a myterious aggregation. Herald reporter Sue Cocking tagged along for two days to cover the story. To read the article Click Here
Dr. Gruber and the BBFS want to extend a huge 'Thank You' for all those who helped on this year's study: Walt Stearns, Randy Jordan of the Jupiter Dive Center, Tim Taylor, Mark Corcoran, Todd Gedamke, and the entire crew of the M/V Animal House.
Discovery filming the shark repellent tests in Bimini
February 1, 05 — BBFS Feature Coming up on Discovery
The BBFS and our colleagues at Shark Defense Inc. will be featured on an upcoming show on the Discovery Channel. The piece is set to air on February 11, 2005 on the 8:00 pm EST episode of Discoveries This Week. Underwater Directors of Photography GavinMcKinney & J.P. Genasi, along with Ian Connacher of Discovery (Cananda) visited the Sharklab in November of 2004, and already aired a similar piece on Discovery (Canada).
Be sure to tune in to see the BBFS and Shark Defense Inc.!
January 17, 05 — Volunteer Recruitment for 2005 is Currently Underway
The Bimini Biological Field Station is eagerly accepting applications for volunteers to join our team in 2005. Check out our Volunteer Information page if you are interested in getting involved, and check out the rest of the website to see what you can expect working at the Sharklab in Bimini, Bahamas.
The students and crew head off on a field trip
January 10, 05 — BBFS Currently Hosting University of Miami Marine Biology Course
The Sharklab is currently hosting a Marine Field Biology course from the University of Miami. From January 5 - January 14, fifteen students will be participating in this in depth course. Students are lectured on various marine habitats and ecosystems, and then taken in the field to see these areas for themselves. More photos and information will be posted soon.
December 15, 04 — Happy Holidays From the BBFS Crew
The Bimini Biological Field Station will be closed from December 15, 2004 until January 4, 2005. Feel free to contact Dr. Gruber, or any of the staff, by e mail during this time if you have any questions or comments. The BBFS will start the new year by hosting a marine biology field course from the University of Miami. More information and photos about the course will be posted in the new year.
Thanks, and have a Happy Holiday Season.
December 8, 04 — More Controversy About Bimini Development
The Bimini Bay Resort & Casino, a highly controversial development on North Bimini, is making headlines in the news. The Nassau Guardian published two articles recently about the renewed controversy surrounding the resort.
MythBusters host Jamie Hyneman relaxes in the BBFS golf cart
December 1, 04 — Discovery Channel's MythBusters Filming at the Sharklab
The MythBusters finished shooting at the BBFS today for their upcoming show about shark myths. The episode will air as part of Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" in July of 2005. Click the side bar at right for more information about the MythBusters stay at the Sharklab.
The MythBusters Crew and Dr. Gruber testing two small lemon sharks
November 28, 04 — Discovery Channel's MythBusters Filming at the Sharklab
The Discovery Channel's hit show MythBusters is filming at the BBFS for an upcoming show. Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Kari Byron and crew came to the Sharklab to test the "myth" that sharks can detect a drop of blood in a swimming pool. For the next few days they will be running experiments with lemon sharks on site at the BBFS. More photos and information will be posted soon.
November 20, 04 — ABC News Filming at the BBFS
A crew from ABC News was filming in Bimini today for upcoming stories on the chemical shark repellents being developed by Shark Defense and the BBFS. Eric Stroud and Mike Hermann of Shark Defense, along with Dr. Gruber from the BBFS, sat down for an interview with ABC News correspondent Jeffery Kofman to explain the possibilities and potential of their new chemical shark repellent. The News crew also came out with the BBFS to witness the repellents in action, with tests done on Nurse sharks, Lemon sharks, Blacknose sharks, and Caribbean Reef sharks. We will post more information, as to when the show will air, soon.
November 19, 04 — Discovery (Canada) & Shark Defense Filming at the BBFS
Underwater Directors of Photography GavinMcKinney & J.P. Genasi, along with Ian Connacher of Discovery (Cananda) were filming at the BBFS for an upcoming feature on the shark repellents being developed by Shark Defense Inc. Shark Defense and the BBFS have been working closely together over the last 2 years developing and testing chemical shark repellents. The film crew was documenting 2 repellent tests for an upcoming episode of the show Daily Planet. We will post more information, as to when the show will air, soon.
November 7, 04 — 11 1/2 Foot Tiger Shark Killed by Anglers
A group of fishermen visiting Bimini from Michigan, USA caught and killed an 11 ˝ foot (351 cm) male Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) today. The shark carcass was brought back to The Big Game Fishing Club and weighed in at 659 pounds. The fishermen took only the head and claspers as souvenirs.
While the BBFS always prefers that anglers practice "catch & release" when shark fishing, to their credit the fisherman willingly gave away all of the shark meat to onlooking Bahamians, and allowed the BBFS crew to take samples for study.
November 6, 04 — BBFS Catches Second Sub-Adult Bull Shark of the Year
A crew set out today to catch sub-adult lemon sharks on rod & reel, but instead caught a sub-adult bull shark. For just over a year, the BBFS has been using rod & reel fishing as an additional way to catch larger sharks for our research. Today's catch is only the second small sub-adult bull shark ever caught by the BBFS, the first was caught in July of this year. Today's individual was a small male, reaching a total length of 139 cm. These two captures represent potentially valuable information about the life history of bull sharks in the Bahamas. Tracking data of other Bahamian bull sharks indicates that they swim to Florida, USA to give their pups in or near rivers. While they both are years past being new-born sharks, these two bull shark captures indicate either that there are pupping grounds near Bimini, or that these young sharks are capable of relatively long migrations after just a few years.
October 24, 04 — BBFS Recaptures Smalltooth Sawfish
The BBFS crew recaptured the sawfish that was caught earlier this month in the North Sound. A tracking crew in the Sound spotted two smalltooth sawfish swimming in the shallow waters of the lagoon. Another boat met them on the water and was able to catch one of the sawfish, which was identified by its tag as the the individual caught in early October. Unfortunately the other sawfish was not spotted again. See the News item below for information on the initial capture of this endangered animal.
Bryan preparing to release the tagged sawfish
October 6, 04 — The BBFS captured, tagged, and released a Smalltooth Sawfish Today...Again
For the second time in 6 months, the crew from the BBFS was able to safely capture, tag, and release a Smalltooth Sawfish. The sawfish caught today was entangled in a gillnet that was set out for juvenile lemon sharks. It was measured at a total length of 253 cm (~8' 3"), and tagged with the same NMFS tag we use on the large sharks we work with. This capture is of significant importance due to where the sawfish was caught, the North Sound lagoon on North Bimini. The North Sound is one of the most important marine nurseries in the Bahamas, and is slated to be a part of the Bahamian Marine Reserve Program. The fact that this lagoon also provides habitat for smalltooth sawfish, an endangered species, amplifies the importance to protect this area. Read more about protecting the North Sound.
The BBFS Staff surveying the storm
September 25, 04 — Hurricane Jeanne Spares Bimini Any Serious Damage.
The second hurricane in just weeks to pass Bimini, Hurricane Jeanne, spared the island any serious damage. The BBFS crew prepared the Sharklab for the impending winds in the days before the hurricane, and weathered the storm at the Scuba Bimini Dive Resort on South Bimini. The BBFS would like to thank Scuba Bimini for their help and hospitality during Hurricane Jeanne.
September 18, 04 — BBFS Crew Safely Back in Bimini
The BBFS staff and volunteers have returned to Bimini and resumed work. The entire crew was evacuated due to Hurricane Frances. There was no serious storm damage to Bimini, and after a lengthy clean-up, the crew was able to resume with work. The Sharklab crew wants to thank everyone who contacted us for their concern.
September 2, 04 — The BBFS Has Been Evacuated
The BBFS has been evacuated due to the threat of Hurricane Frances. All of the staff and volunteers at the Sharklab are safe and sound at Dr. Gruber's home in Miami, FL. More news will be posted once the staff returns to Bimini.
August 3, 04 — Help Protect Bimini
Bimini hosted a public meeting to discuss the proposed Marine Reserve on North Bimini today. The meeting was presented by the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and the Bahamas Dept. of Fisheries. Several speakers espoused the benefits of implementing the Reserve, and Biminites were encouraged to voice their opinions on the matter.
The main concern of discussions quickly became the controversial development on North Bimini, the Bimini Bay Resort & Casino. There was an overwhelming desire to get the Bimini Marine Reserve established, which would serve to protect North Bimini's valuable marine nurseries. More information on how you can help Protect Bimini.
August 1, 04 — Shark Repellent Making Headlines
Researchers Eric Stroud and Mike Herrmann from Shark Defense Inc. have developed a chemical shark repellent that is making headlines around the world. Eric & Mike have been working closely with the BBFS for the last two years, testing their repellents on Caribbean Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Lemon Sharks, Blacknose Sharks, and Bull Sharks around Bimini. Shark Defense and the BBFS have been featured in National Geographic News and an Associated Press article shown on MSN News, Yahoo News, CNN.com and newspapers around the globe.
July 22, 04 — BBFS Longline Catch for July
The Sharklab recently completed our latest 24 hour longline set, catching 13 sharks in total. Among the sharks caught was a 125 cm Bull Shark (C. leucas), which is by far the smallest bull ever seen or caught by the BBFS. A 109 cm Tiger Shark (G.cuvier) was also caught, the second smallest ever caught by the Sharklab. While hauling the lines back, a 287 cm Tiger Shark was seen taking a hook, the shark then bit through the line and escaped with a length of leader wire wrapped around it's head. The shark was recaught by lassoing the tail, it was then tagged and released free of any hooks or wire. The last shark of the set was a 227 cm Bull Shark that was caught on a line set right out back from the BBFS channel.
July 3, 04 — Trophy Fishing in Bimini
South Florida anglers visiting Bimini for the 4th of July weekend caught and killed an 11’ 11” female great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) today. After removing the jaw for a trophy, and cutting the fins off, the anglers discarded the remains of this 400 + lb. shark.
Studies show that Hammerhead populations in the North Atlantic have decreased by 89% since 1986.
June 25, 04 — PIT 2004 A Huge Success
The 2004 BBFS PIT Tagging Program was a huge success. This was the 10th consecutive year of this project. Click the side bar on the right side of this page for more photos and information.
May 26, 04 — The BBFS captured, tagged, and released a Smalltooth Sawfish Today
While out tracking a sub-adult lemon shark today, one of our crews spotted one of the rarest fish in the oceans, the Smalltooth Sawfish. The entire BBFS crew raced out to see this amazing animal, only the 5th one seen by BBFS staff in the last 3 years.
The sawfish was caught by one of the staff swimming behind it, and lassoing the tail. The sawfish was then measured (268 cm / 8 ft. 8 inch Total Length), tagged, and released safely. More photos will be posted soon.
May 17, 04 — The BBFS Sharklab Website has been completely renovated and updated.
The Bimini Biological Field Station website has been completely renovated and updated. Take some time to look around at all the new photos and information. The site will be updated regularly to keep everyone posted on what's going on at the Sharklab. The new website is courtesy of Marc Bloomquist.
May 17, 04 — Volunteer recruitment for 2004 is currently under way.
Dr. S.H. Gruber is currently accepting applications for volunteer positions at the BBFS Sharklab. Check the Volunteer Info page for more information concerning volunteer opportunities at the Sharklab in Bimini.
April 15, 04 — The annual American Elasmobranch Society meeting is coming up in May.
The annual meeting for the American Elasmobranch Society (AES) is coming up this May, 2004. For more information about the AES meeting, go to the American Elasmobranch Society website.
Byran pulling in the shark
April 15, 04 — A sub-adult lemon shark was caught off the BBFS dock and added into our current study.
A small sub-adult lemon shark (119 cm Total Length) was recently caught right off the dock at the Sharklab. The shark was the ideal size to include in Bryan Frank's tracking work, so it was given a transmitter and added to the study. For more information on Bryan's tracking work, see the Research Page.
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