By James Komisarjevsky, RJD intern
Last Saturday, the RJD team took the UMiami Global Academy out for a fun filled day of shark tagging. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining and everyone’s hopes were high for a day filled with lots of sharks. The team took the UM Global Academy out to a reef site in deep waters (about 150ft deep). It was not a spot for the weak stomach as swells had the boat rocking. The first ten drumlines were set out, and except for some of the people who were a little seasick, everyone’s hopes were high.
Some might call it beginners luck, but the day started off strong. When the first drumline was taken in, everybody was surprised to see a beautiful Caribbean Reef Shark on the other end. Students had the chance to do hands on research with this beauty and get up and close. Students helped the RJD team gather data by taking measurements, a muscle biopsy, a fin clip, inserting a spaghetti tag, and gathering nictitating membrane data. The second drumline was reeled in, but we weren’t as lucky with nothing on the other end. Our luck soon changed for the better, as the next three drumlines all had a shark on the other end. We were lucky enough to gather data for two sandbar sharks and a black tip shark. Students from the UM global academy were able to see, feel, collect data, and learn about these magnificent animals. After our string of extremely good luck, we were not so lucky, as the next 16 drumlines all came up empty. After 16 drumlines of no sharks, everybody was starting to lose hope until the next drumline was pulled up and a Sandbar shark was on the other end! The spirits were high and everybody was having a great time as we were all able to gather data on a 5th shark!
With the help of the UM Global Academy, the last of the drumlines were taken up with, sadly, no more sharks on the ends. To end this perfect day right, the RJD team and the UM Global Academy cooled off by taking a nice relaxing dip in the water. With data collected on five incredible sharks, the day was a success! UM Global Academy students were able to help collect data and learn some very important information about sharks and the issues surrounding them. With a great group of students helping out the RJD team, the day was really something special for everybody.