Friday, December 9th 2011
For the last trip of the semester we headed out to the University of Miami’s field research station at Broad Key with members of the Board of Visitors from UM’s Rosenstiel School. After Captain Curt, myself, Kyra, Evan and James set out the first 10 drumlines we met up with Dr. Hammerschlag, Dr. Kenny Broad, and the members of the board on the “Captain Gas” to finish our sampling. The water was pretty rough that day, so we were happy to be on such a big, beautiful boat.
The excitement started almost immediately. After pulling only a few lines, we had our first shark of the day: a beautiful baby tiger shark! You can easily tell a juvenile tiger shark from a full grown one by its pattern. Juveniles still show spots, while adult tiger sharks display their emblematic stripes.
Following shortly thereafter, we had a female black tip and a 6ft great hammerhead! Then, we pulled in yet another tiger shark! This time, she was fully-grown, reaching almost 10 feet in length! Finally, as we pulled in the very last drumline of the day, we had another incredible surprise. This time, we had a 10ft great hammerhead shark!
By now, even those on the boat with us for the first time knew exactly what to do. Members of the board and their family helped the interns and Dr. Hammerschlag work up the shark in record time and we released her into the water in great condition. Two of our youngest participants of the day, Kat and Anthony, both 14 years old, had an incredible time and fearlessly helped take measurements with the help of our interns.
At the end of the day, Kat said that after this, she’d probably want to become a marine biologist when she grows up! This was the icing on the cake.
With five of the most beautiful sharks I’ve ever seen, this trip was a great way to wrap up the semester! See you in the spring everyone!
Julia Wester, RJD Intern