R/V ANGARI welcomed aboard scientists and graduate students from Florida International University (FIU) for a day of shark handling training along the coast of Palm Beach County, Florida.
March 11, 2022
West Palm Beach, FL
Laura García Barcia
All sharks were fished for, caught, studied and released for research purposes under Florida permits held by Florida International University scientists.
Scientists from the Predator Ecology and Conservation (PEC) Lab and Heithaus Lab for Marine Community & Behavioral Ecology within the FIU College of Arts, Sciences & Education took to the water for their annual shark handling course. Throughout the day, graduate students in the course received instruction and actively participated in all aspects of the research from setting up and deploying baited drumlines, to hand reeling, measuring, tagging and collecting tissue samples from sharks. In total, four sharks were caught and released, including two tiger sharks, one lemon shark and one nurse shark.
Senior shark scientists on the expedition shared their knowledge and field experiences with the course participants, leaving them with a new appreciation for and understanding of how to work with large sharks in the field. The training and experience the course participants received will aid them in their future fieldwork and help inform their own research projects contributing to our knowledge of shark biology and conservation in south Florida and around the world.
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 behavioral 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.
Laura García Barcia is a Ph.D. candidate in the FIU PEC Lab. She is an environmental biologist particularly interested in marine wildlife conservation and her research focuses on two main topics: the shark fin trade and the impacts of heavy metal pollution on coastal shark species. Through the use of genetics and toxicology, she explores fascinating questions, including identifying where shark fins sold in Hong Kong come from, if shark fin soup is a safe product to consume for humans, and at what life stage sharks are more vulnerable to pollutants in the water. Laura also serves as the lead scientist for ANGARI’s “Coastal Ocean Explorers: Sharks” at-sea education program.