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Expedition 22: Blacktip Shark Migration

R/V ANGARI welcomed aboard local media and shark researchers from Florida International University (FIU) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for a look at the blacktip shark migration along the coast of Palm Beach County, Florida.

Media Persons



February 27, 2019


Palm Beach County, FL


Science Team

Kirk Gastrich
Mike Heithaus
Stephen Kajiura
Megan Kelley
Yannis Papastamatiou

Shark scientists from Florida International University (FIU) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) joined forces to study dynamics of the ongoing blacktip shark migration. This annual migration occurs along Palm Beach County with thousands of blacktip sharks appearing in late winter and staying into early spring. Local media correspondents and reporters were invited onboard R/V ANGARI to work with the researchers to better understand the blacktip shark migration.

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Chief Scientists

Mike Heithaus is the Dean of the FIU College of Arts, Sciences & Education and a marine ecologist specializing in predator-prey interactions and the ecological importance of sharks. Heithaus’s research leverages cutting-edge technologies, including drones and animal-borne cameras, to unravel the mysterious lives of hard-to-study marine creatures. Prior to joining FIU, Heithaus was a scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research, hosted a show on National Geographic and has been involved in the production of over a dozen natural history documentaries, including two on Shark Week.


Yannis Papastamatiou is an Assistant Professor at FIU in the Department of Biological Sciences. With close to 60 research publications, Yannis is one of the world’s leading shark behavioural ecologists. His work has been featured on National Geographic and BBC. Yannis’ use of new tag technologies on species ranging from pelagic oceanic whitetips to home-ranging reef sharks has advanced the field of predator ecology and led to evidence-based marine protected area zoning.


Dr. Stephen Kajiura is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). His area of expertise is the sensory biology of sharks and rays with an emphasis on the electrosensory system. In addition to his sensory physiology research, Dr. Kajiura studies the massive seasonal aggregation of blacktip sharks in southeast Florida. He incorporates aerial surveys with tagging and acoustic telemetry to document the migration of these sharks along the US eastern seaboard.

Dr. Kajiura has conducted research for various agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Dr. Kajiura maintains a strong public outreach service, primarily through television documentary appearances, and has served as an elected member of the American Elasmobranch Society Board of Directors. Learn more about Dr. Kajiura here.


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