A slow finish to a fantastic weekend of shark research!

Nothing but Nurse Sharks!

June 6, 2010

After about a year of being away from the shark program, I couldn’t be more thrilled and excited to be back!  As great as my school is in the mountains of Colorado, I continue to find myself just as passionate for the ocean and sharks as I always have been.  It had been a great weekend so far, so I was super pumped for day 3 of the shark trip.  In addition, we had the pleasure of having the fabulous students from South Broward High School help out.

South Broward High School and Dunlap Crew sending out a Bull Shark vibe. (click to enlarge)

Enjoying the sunny day, South Broward and Dunlap Crew take turns jumping off the boat! (click to enlarge)

We headed out to Hawks Channel and set out ten drumlines in the water.  As we waited for the drumlines to finish soaking the full hour and a half, everyone on the boat was eager to somehow beat the extreme heat and cool off. The waves of the Atlantic were calling our name! The captain graciously allowed us all to jump into the water and take a swim while we waited. Best feeling ever! We all needed the cool off and rejuvenation, if we were going to reel in some sharks.

After our little swim break, we headed back to work. We pulled up the first drumline and pulled up a female nurse shark. Unfortunately, the shark got off the hook before we could tag it or take any measurements. We estimated it was about 100 cm though. The eighth drumline also had a female nurse shark on. This time we were able to secure it next to the boat and have Curt jump in and get a fin clip and insert a spaghetti tag. We measured her to be around 231 cm.

The infamous nurse shark awaits a tag. (click to enlarge)

Captain Curt and Austin struggle to get a tag into a Nurse Shark! (click to enlarge)

Once again we found ourselves waiting for the second round of drumlines to finish soaking. It was the perfect opportunity to cool off in the water once again. This time however, the students at South Broward went head to head in a back flip contest! Definitely a display of pure talent! South Broward also brought their shark club hat to be initiated. It was only proper to have it tagged and worn the rest of the day.

We managed to get two more nurse sharks that day. One was approximately 169 cm and the other 230 cm. Unfortunately the latter got off the hook. Much to our disappointment, the fish traps we set out in the beginning of the day were empty. It may not have been the most exciting of shark varieties, but I think a good time was had by all!

Empty fish traps seems to coincide with catching small sharks or just nurse sharks. With future studies, we can possibly determine that large predators are important for keeping fish populations healthy. (click to enlarge)

Happy sharking!

Katie  (shark intern)

2 replies
  1. Nicolas Polignan
    Nicolas Polignan says:

    Wow!! what a great trip. Even though the room was limited, the heat was exhausting, and not many sharks were touching the bait, I had an awesome time. I really enjoyed our diving competition and our little dip in the “community pool.” I just hope that our shark hat will bring us more luck next time….
    Looking forward to working with the team soon..

  2. Chelsea Currie
    Chelsea Currie says:

    Like Nico said, this trip was awesome! With a smaller group we were all able to communicate better, which allowed us to overcome the obstacle of the limited space. In my opinion, having the shark in the water gave a better opportunity to see its beauty, instead of having it on the boat with 3 people on top and a towel covering its eyes. I got some great shots that day, some up close and personals with the nurse sharks, and some of us having fun in the “pool.” We didn’t see a ton of sharks or many fish in the traps but we have our lucky hat and lucky dance that will hopefully bring us luck in the next trip! See you guys in August!

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