Shark tagging with IMPACT

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by Melissa Soto, RJD intern It was a hot and sunny Thursday morning as I drove down to Key Biscayne to meet the rest of RJD at the marina. Once all the RJD members arrived, we filled the boat up with the equipment and waited for our spectators. As soon as they stepped off their school bus, IMPACT was filled with enthusiasm and energy. As the boat took off from the marina, RJD members explained what IMPACT would do for the day. They would help RJD in the work up of the sharks, which consist of measuring different lengths, testing … Continue reading

Meet Our Team: David Shiffman


1. What’s your role in the lab? My interdisciplinary Ph.D. research focuses on the ecosystem role of sharks in coastal south Florida, and how different groups of stakeholders perceive that ecosystem role. I also run our social media accounts, help train our interns, and serve as a trip leader on shark research expeditions. You can learn more about my skills and background here.  2. Tell us a little about yourself. I’m originally from Pittsburgh, I went to Duke for my undergraduate education, and I got my Masters in marine biology at the College of Charleston. When I’m not working, I enjoy playing … Continue reading

Meet Our Team: Emily Rose Nelson


1. What’s your role in the lab? Hey guys, I’m Emily! I’ve been working with the Shark Research Team at the University of Miami for about 4 years now. During my time with the RJ Dunlap program I have been involved with a number of projects. I have been the shark satellite tracking coordinator since 2013. I am responsible for keeping track of all our satellite tagged sharks. Nightly, I receive emails that indicate which of our sharks have transmitted throughout the day. Using a number of different databases I can then examine the location and movement of animals. From here, … Continue reading

Meet Our Team: Pat Goebel

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1. What’s your role in the lab? As a master’s student in the lab, I am in charge of conducting my own research for my thesis and leading shark tagging expeditions. My research interests are behavioral ecology, predator/prey interactions and conservation. My current research primarily focuses on understanding some of the important ecological patterns of predators in an inshore tropical estuary, which serve as a critical nursery area for the coral reef-associated fishes in the region. 2. Tell us a little about yourself. I am originally from Cleveland, OH but moved down to South Florida about three years ago to attend … Continue reading

Meet Our Team: Robbie Roemer


1. What’s your role in the lab? I am a Masters of Science (MS) student here at the University of Miami and am focusing on a research project for my thesis. My thesis research is primarily focusing on localized movements of urbanized shark populations, or in other words, sharks that spend long amounts of time in highly urbanized environments. We always view sharks as those which are sensitive to human impacts (pollution, habitat modification, etc.) however it would be very interesting to see show that certain species have learned to thrive in such ecosystems, much like a pigeon in a … Continue reading

Meet Our Team: Rachel Skubel


1. What’s your role in the lab? I’m a shark research intern, which means that I am working with the team on our shark tagging expeditions, helping to carry out research projects, and working on some outreach initiatives as well.  One of the experiments we are beginning now is testing the impact of shark presence on coral health. We’re able to do this by using a model plastic shark placed next to a block of growing corals, and observing fish behavior and coral over time. When sharks are reduced on a reef (by overfishing, for example), the population of fish that … Continue reading