by Stacy Assael, RJD Intern
Today the RJD team welcomed our first shark of 2013, a large male nurse shark! Upon leaving for today’s trip we were not sure if we would even catch anything. Although Captain Curt always delivers, everyone was a little apprehensive about his decision to fish at a brand new site rather than the very fruitful Middle Grounds. After about a 30min ride out, we arrived.
When it came time to pick up our first set of drumlines, everyone crossed their fingers and hoped for some sharks. Drumline #2, delivered and we were able to collect our first shark samples of the new year. This shark must have been just as excited as we were because it would not settle down. It took about 5minutes, and super human strength from 3 interns (me, Becca, and Megan) to secure the animal so that we could collect our data. Twenty lines, 5 large nurse sharks, and one sharpnose later everyone was exhausted. It had been a long time since I handled sharks this rowdy, and I know my muscles will be feeling it tomorrow.
We were extremely fortunate to have had such a successful trip out on the water, but the real highlight of the day was our participants from the Gulliver Schools. It was beyond refreshing to work such ambitious students who were not only excited to be there but eager to learn about our work. The whole day was filled with both sharks, and a ton of thoughtful questions ranging from why we do our research to the mechanics of the drumlines. It was clear that we were working with a bunch of future marine biologist. With that I would like to extend big “thank you” to the Gulliver School’s students, and to Ms. Key for an awesome day!