Last weekend, students from the Archimedean Academy joined the RJ Dunlap team for the first of many voyages on Captain Curt’s new boat! This new vessel, named after Captain Curt’s soon-to-be-born daughter, is a welcome addition to RJD. It’s size, range, and cabin space will allow our team to do even more research in the Bahamas and other far-away sites.
We went to Middle Grounds, a site in the Everglades National Park known for having lots of sharks. Nutrient-rich runoff from the Everglades creates a rich feeding ground for many species of sharks. Some of our highest catch-per-unit-effort (a measure of shark abundance) has been at this site. Our catch didn’t disappoint- in total, we caught, tagged, and released two blacktip sharks, an Atlantic Sharpnose shark, and a blacknose shark.
While we are used to catching blacktips, the other two species make up a small proportion of our annual catch and we were excited to see them!
Additionally, a CBS News crew joined us for the day. They are preparing a story about the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program’s research, which we will post on the blog when it’s online.
We had a great first day on the new boat, and I look forward to many future successful trips!
~David Shiffman, RJD Ph.D. student