February 6, 2010
Hello! My name is Adam Matulik, a senior intern for the shark program. I have been working with the shark program since April 2007, helping Dr. Hammerschlag with anything from counting and identifying fish species, pulling seine nets, and helping with improving handling methods. I am also a graduate student at Nova Southeastern University working on a master’s thesis involving correlating the mercury concentration in shark tissue with relative trophic level determined through stable isotope ratios of nitrogen and carbon.
I’ll be telling you a little bit about how today’s shark trip. Most of the interns like to drive down the morning of a trip, but I’m usually much too tired to wake up at 5am and make a two hour drive from Broward County. So I had stayed the previous night in the SeaBase scuba dormitory. My morning started with getting my gear ready and setting it on the dock in preparation of the arrival of our guests and the other interns.
Today’s team included Dr. Hammerschlag, Captain Curt Slonim, Brendal Davis, Julia Lampe, Katie Sellers, and Jamison Farrell. Over a steaming cup of runny pre-packaged oatmeal, I talked with the others as they arrived about how they were. One thing you learn about this shark program is that its so much more than just a group of people who happen to do shark research, over time you feel like family and each member has something special to add to the program.
Once we were getting on the boat and about get going our guests of honor arrived – Edward and Hillary Smith. Edward, a medical doctor, and Hillary, a partner for an event-planning company, joined us by meeting Neil through “Save the Blue.” They were lots of fun on the trip, and it seems they had an absolute blast! I certainly enjoy having new people on board, and Edward and Hillary were great. They even posted part of their experience on their blog: www.konceptevents.com/blog
Despite some warnings of potential foul weather, the day turned out beautifully! We pulled up two bull sharks, three blacktip sharks, and a good-sized lemon shark. Unfortunately, neither of the bull sharks were large enough to deploy our satellite tags, but all of us still enjoyed a day out with our favorite elasmobranchs. Even though it seemed like a slow day, we still were able to pull out plenty of data and samples with which we can work.
My heart goes out to the students from Mast Academy who missed out on the trip because of those weather warnings, but safety is always the number one priority on any trip. Thanks to our crew from SeaBase! Thanks again to Edward and Hillary! And thanks to my sharky family for making it a fun day!
It already looks to be a very promising season.
Warm regards and good sharking,