Shark tagging with Miami Dade College and friends

Friday, June 22, 2012
Megan Piechowski, RJD Intern

Three weeks ago I imagined spending my summer at home, in Austin, TX. When I was offered an internship with RJ Dunlap I was ecstatic, as this incredible opportunity seemed to piece itself together nicely. Last Friday was my second trip as a member of the team, which was exhilarating as I was able to be truly involved in securing the sharks and collecting samples. We went to the Everglades National Park with a helpful group of Miami Dade College students and an enthusiastic family that bought a satellite tag, or Hammer-tag.
An hour after dropping the baited drum lines, with the help of our participants, we were ready to pull in our lines, excited to see what may be on the other end of them. Our first shark of the day was a bull shark, which was special to me as it was my first shark to help secure with another RJ Dunlap intern.

Group picture of the participants with the blacktip shark being held up by RJD interns.

After pulling in our second shark, a large nurse shark, we brought in a great hammerhead shark. This beautiful shark was fitted with a satellite tag, which was particularly exciting because the family on board was able to see the shark that their satellite tag was going to be on. The two little boys from the family were excited and collaborating for the rest of the day on what the name of their shark would be, I think “Jaws” was a favorite. As we were picking up our last lines and packing them away we caught a blacktip shark. I knew I was truly a member of the RJD team on the way home from this trip as I stared down at my raw knees from the shark burn with a sense of pride, excited for my next chance to get back on the water.

An RJD intern draws blood from a great hammerhead shark. The satellite tag is visible on the shark’s dorsal fin

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