Quantitative Marine Ecology Lab

Shoals Shark Biology and Conservation

Shark Biology and Conservation at Shoals Marine Lab

Last month, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks at Shoals Marine Lab. Shoals is a research station which is centered around undergraduate education and is run collabratively by University of New Hampshire and Cornell University. I was the teaching assistant for their Shark Biology and Conservation course. This was awesome, because not only was I able to talk about my favorite thing (sharks) all day- but it also solidified that I do in fact love teaching. Throughout the two weeks, I spent time setting up labs, grading, assisting with project development, and talking with students about my scientific path!
There were a lot of highlights over the course of the week- but I figured I would list my “top 10” experiences at Shoals.

  1. Tagging and releasing two blue sharks! My background is working with tropical shark species in Miami and the Bahamas, so working with blues was a first for me!
  2. Learning how to use a rod and reel along side my students. Surprisingly, I have never fished with a rod and reel! However, we had amazing success with “sabikis” fishing for Mackeral!
  3. Working with skates for the first time! Skates are a close cousin of sharks! We were working specifically with the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea)
  4. Helping students develop their own independent research questions! We had captive sharks and skates for our students to study a range of things from habitat preference to capture stress!
  5. Leading disscussions about readings outside while watching the beautiful Appledore Island sunset.
  6. Seeing all of our skate embryos hatch into adorable hatchlings!
  7. Teaching students to take muscle biopsies from sharks and teleosts! I was even able to take some samples for Stable Isotope Analysis!
  8. Meeting the other awesome Shoals faculty and staff.
  9. Working along side Maggie Winchester and Dr. Heather Marshall, two amazing women in shark science!
  10. Showing my students how Shark Science is not all glam! I had the task of making “chum buckets” to help attract sharks during our fishing efforts.