Juvenile Lemon Sharks.
The PIT project is named after the passive integrated transponder -type tag used to identify the juvenile lemon sharks. PIT 2006 will mark the 13th year of the project, but also, sadly, the first year of censusing after the Bimini Bay Project's removal of mangroves from areas of the North Sound, one of the main sampling areas. It will be interesting to see how this removal of mangroves may affect the shark population of the lagoon.
Every May, pregnant lemon sharks enter the lagoon and drop their pups. The PIT project is set up so that every June the lagoon is intensively fished, via gillnets, in an attempt to catch, tag, and census all the juvenile lemon sharks that call Bimini Lagoon their home. This ensures that all the new babies are tagged, as well as seeing which individuals have survived since last year and how much they have grown. The two main nursery areas of the lagoon are called the North Sound, and just to the south, Sharkland. Each area is fished with three gillnets for 6 nights. All sharks captured are tagged, measured, weighed, and sampled for DNA. They are then put into a large pen to ensure they do not go through the stress of capture again. When all 6 nights of the lagoon area are finished, the sharks are mass-released back into the lagoon. It is an impressive sight to see 100+ juvenile lemon sharks swimming around in a pen from underwater - each a miniature replica of the finely honed predator that sired it.
For 2006, the BBFS has assembled one of its most experienced teams ever. Only 1 person had not been to the lab previously and there are plenty of PIT veterans from years past. This page is to chronicle the 2006 PIT team as they live through the PIT experience - all the blood (there is the occasional sharkbite after all), sweat, and tears that go into field biology. We will see all sides of the project that help it to be a success - from the gillnet capture, to tagging, gill net repair, and support and food preparation of the home crew. Welcome to this website and come see the methods and people that will be responsible for making PIT 2006 a success...
June 1, 2006
And for more information on the BBFS PIT Tagging Program, Click Here.