Scientific Name: Galeocerdo cuvier
Date Tagged: December 16, 2010
Location Tagged: West Bank, Bahamas
Total Length (TL): 321cm
The Story Behind the Name: When your passion in life is sharks, you get people’s attention. Often quoted and interviewed in the media, Neil Hammerschlag PhD, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, spoke on November 18th at the Cultural Center at the invitation of the Friends of the Key Largo Cultural Center as part of its Ocean Life Lecture Series.
Dr. Hammerschlag, who was the second speaker in the Ocean Life Lecture Series, captures and tags sharks tracking their migratory habits via satellite, to better understand and preserve their important predatory link in the sustainability of the world’s oceans.
The visit was preceded by a middle school Name the Shark contest, where the professor’s work inspired students. The winning name will be used to identify a shark tagged in Dr. Hammerschlag’s South Florida and Caribbean shark survey. Students can follow the migration of the shark on their computers, making this a project that will last through the school year.
The winning name in the Name the Shark Contest, “Zhendy,” was submitted by Keeley Catarineau, age 12, a student of Mr. Enright’s class at PKS. In addition to being able to name the shark, the winner was also awarded savings bonds by Capital Bank and First State Bank. Keeley’s entry said “I chose this name because Zen means like calm and peaceful, which sharks are unless they are disturbed. This name was also chosen because it is very created and cute! Then name also could be a boy or girl name because it is made up. I mean, I made it up but it sounds very real.” Thanks to Keeley for her creativity and her message.
In keeping with Dr. Hammerschlag’s interest in speaking to students about preserving and studying sharks, he arranged his schedule to include a stop at Key Largo School before he spoke at the Cultural Center. He was met with enthusiasm by young students in the after school program at KLS where his photos of sharks had hands flying into the air with questions.
Later that evening, the lecture at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center included the opportunity to meet one on one with the scientist. An entire day of excitement aboard a shark tagging excursion is still in the offering by the Friends of the Key Largo Cultural Center on their website. The slate of speakers and topics for the first three months of the 2012 Ocean Life Lecture schedule will include Friday, Jan. 6th, Ken Nedimyer speaking about Coral Restoration projects of the Coral Restoration Foundation. Friday, February 17th, Dr. Jim Fourquen from Florida International University speaking on the threats to and the importance of Sea grasses to our local ecosystem. Friday, March 16th, Lauri MacLaughlin Resource Manager for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary speaking on Coral Spawning in the Florida Keys — Spawn-tastic !!
The Ocean Life Lecture Series is an Upper Keys event sponsored by the Friends of the Key Largo Cultural Center at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center, MM 102. For each event, there will be a meet and greet reception with the speaker starting at 6:00 PM followed by the presentation at 7:00 PM. For further information please see www.fklcc.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-396-7000.
Satellite Tagging: Zhendy was carefully tagged with the latest in satellite tag technology providing us with the first opportunity to follow the long term movements of these threatened species. Please keep checking back frequently to follow Zhendy’s movements, which will be updated every few days as her satellite tag continues to send us real-time tracking data.
Adopt-a-Shark: For information on how you can contribute to our shark conservation research by adopting and tracking your own shark, please visit our Adopt a Shark page.
This work is part of a collaboration among the Shark Research & Conservation Program at the University of Miami, Florida Gulf Coast University and West Coast Inland Navigational District, supported by Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah.