Now before our departure, help us check our equipment! Learn what gear we bring and why.
Welcome aboard! Join the adventure with this video showing the first half of the shark research expeditions, and all the challenges they face.
Are you ready for some action? Start pulling in those drumlines to see what sharks we've hooked. This video shows the culmination of the day on the water and the scope of this research.
Want to see that picture-perfect shot from the day? Explore the gallery to get up-close and personal with the crew and guests aboard RJD expeditions.
Placid blue waters set the scene for a delightful day of shark research. Photo by Christine Shepard Despite the early start, the RJD crew is bright-eyed and ready for the work ahead. Photo by Christine Shepard The RJD fishing expert and boat captain Curt Slonim takes a moment to enjoy the fresh air on the front bow of the boat. Photo by Christine Shepard A diver awaits his perfect photo opportunity with a Tiger Shark, thus becoming the subject of this photo. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag Lion fish are an increasingly prevalent invasive species in South Florida, becoming the focus of RJD's newest research project. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag Students aboard the expedition receive multiple briefings regarding research and fishing procedures to ensure the safest and most rewarding experience. Photo by Jim Abernathy A juicy, sushi-grade Tuna steak is baited onto a circle hook. Photo by Christine Shepard Some of the younger members of the RJD crew - from the left, Virginia Ansaldi, Leann Winn, James Komisarjevsky, Austin Gallagher, Kaitie Sellers, Dominique Lazarre. Photo by Christine Shepard A MAST Academy student shows off her baited line, just before setting it out with Drumline #6. Photo by Christine Shepard A MAST Academy student gently lowers the weight and pop-timer into the water. Photo by Christine Shepard A MAST Academy student tosses the buoys overboard, with the hope of reeling in a shark 1 hour later. Photo by Christine Shepard A pump feeds water into the mouth of this beautiful Blacktip shark to allow for continued breathing while onboard. Photo by Christine Shepard Captain Curt Slonim guides a Lemon shark into the new sling designed to lessen the shark's stress during the tagging process. Photo by Christine Shepard The junior RJD intern Leo secures a Bull shark while Austin and Curt bolt on a satellite tag. Photo by Christine Shepard One use for shark blood samples is toxin screening, giving an overall health evaluation of the ecosystem. Photo by Christine Shepard A SPOT satellite tag is bolted onto the shark fin, and will transmit GPS coordinates each time the shark surfaces. Photo by Christine Shepard Gracefully navigating the deep blue waters of the Florida Keys, a Great Hammerhead joins the excitement of the expedition. Photo by Christine Shepard Organized chaos is what some may call it, but in truth the process of pulling sharks aboard for tagging and research is a well-rehearsed and skillful science. Photo by Christine Shepard Helping hands keep this patient shark secure and calm while receiving its new tags. Photo by Christine Shepard As seen on the caudal fin of this juvenille Tiger shark, the famous stripes of the tiger shark only form once individuals reach maturity. Photo by Christine Shepard With a smooth pointed snout and muscular body, Shortfin Mako sharks clearly live up their reputation as the speed demons of the shark world. Photo by Christine Shepard Austin Gallagher and Curt Slonim carefully attach a SPOT satellite tag onto Mark the MAST Mako shark, while he remains in the water behind the boat. Photo by Christine Shepard MAST Academy students eagerly look onward as the RJD crew secures and tags a rare shark individual in the Florida Keys, Mark the Shortfin Mako. Photo by Christine Shepard Brilliant emerald green and royal blue illuminate this Queen Angel fish, which can often be found living on amongst the South Florida coral reefs. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag A Lemon shark cruises the crystal blue waters, investigating the excitement of multiple divers and their cameras. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag A Great Hammerhead eclipses the penetrating sunrays radiating from the surface. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag A Mahi Mahi bursts with speed toward a scrap of fish bait, amidst a sea of shimmering plankton. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag Graduate student Fiona Graham dilligently works to prepare the fishing equipment aboard the ship. Photo by Christine Shepard At the end of a drumline, a Great Hammerhead waits to be fit with its own satellite tag. Photo by Christine Shepard With the Great Hammerhead's eyes positioned on the side of its head, the animal has a large range of vision and thus a strong hunting advantage. Photo by Christine Shepard Representing the U in all its bursting orange, Multi-Media Specialist Christine Shepard shows off her resourcefully fabricated "pole cam" for added versatility in underwater filming. Photo by Austin Gallagher Captain Curt Slonim and Ph.D student Austin Gallagher discuss the results of the first round of drumlines and shark research. Photo by Christine Shepard A petite Atlantic Sharpnose shark is quickly assessed and tagged before its release back into the ocean. Photo by Christine Shepard Helping hands work together to biopsy a small tissue sample from the shark to assess toxin levels and prey species. Photo by Christine Shepard Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and Ph.D candidate Dominique Lazarre are by far the most dedicated and long-standing members of the RJD team. Photo by Christine Shepard An AMI student nervously appoaches this small shark for more hands-on look. Photo by Christine Shepard Hitch-hiking individuals like this Golden Eel have been known to take advantage of a free meal in the bait crates. Photo by Christine Shepard Smoothly sliding back into the water, this large satellite-tagged Great Hammerhead spits out the ventilation pump that had been in its mouth while onboard. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag. Captain Curt Slonim and RJD interns test out the maneuverability of the new sling for pulling sharks on and off the boat. Photo by Christine Shepard A newly tagged 8-foot Lemon shark rest comfortably in the sling prior to its release. Photo by Christine Shepard An unexpected and rare sawfish is found on one of the drumlines, but is soon released in excellent condition. A mature Tiger shark cruises along the sandy depths of the Bahamas. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag The dangling bait on the surface is no match for this strong and adept Tiger shark. Photo by Neil Hammerschlag Dr. Neil Hammerschlag comes face-to-face with one of the animals he has dedicated his life to protecting, removing the circle hook carefully from its mouth. Photo by Christine Shepard A mysteriously beautiful Tiger shark cuts through the surface water with ease as she shows off her new tags. Photo by Christine ShepardShark Species
Can you identify each species of shark you saw today? Take a few minutes to learn more about these mysterious creatures.