Humans have a fascination with sharks. They are often feared as man-eating creatures out hunting humans off the coastal shores (thanks to Steven Spielberg, his animatronic shark and two notes…da-na, da-na, da-na…).
But, in reality, sharks are some of the coolest creatures on the planet. With a wide variety of species, with some species yet to be discovered in the vast ocean, in all shapes and sizes, we have a great deal to learn from these majestic, and misunderstood, animals. One of the best known species of shark is the great white. Again, thanks Mr. Spielberg for making them a part of popculture! There are researchers interested in learning more about the species, which leads us to a great partnership with OCEARCH and Adventure Aquarium.
OCEARCH is a recognized world leader in collecting research and data to track and conduct biological studies of marine species such as great white and tiger sharks. OCEARCH goes on expeditions and tags sharks in the wild. They are then able to track their movement through the ocean. They also work to help educate and conduct outreach for conservation.
If you’re into sharks, you’ll definitely want to know all about OCEARCH and the work they’re doing – especially being able to track the tagged sharks’ travels up and down the coast of the New Jersey and all over the world (#ping).
Adventure Aquarium’s staff veterinarian, Dr. Mike Hyatt, had the awesome opportunity to join OCEARCH on a recent expedition. The partnership between Adventure Aquarium and OCEARCH began when a colleague of Dr. Hyatt, the veterinarian for the North Carolina Aquariums, invited him to help out in a sand tiger shark expedition off of Wilmington, NC.
OCEARCH then invited him back for future expeditions as part of their science team – how cool! Over the past year, Dr. Hyatt has participated in two more expeditions: Nantucket last September, and most recently, the Low Country expedition off of Hilton Head, SC. Both of these expeditions were in search of great white sharks!
On the most recent expedition in Hilton Head, Dr. Hyatt was able to help examine wild great whites (crazy awesome) but working with OCEARCH means a lot to him.
“Tracking great white sharks to determine their natural history and biology with migration, reproduction and birthing is what made OCEARCH a global leader in providing scientific data and educational outreach,” said Hyatt. “Collaborating with OCEARCH provides opportunities for shark conservation research not only for Adventure Aquarium, but for numerous other aquarium and academic researchers all at the same time.”
Being able to join these expeditions in the field is exciting but also important to the cause, as Dr. Hyatt’s role helps provide care to the animals as they are being tagged. “My role on the expeditions is to provide veterinary oversight, assist in health assessments of the sharks via collecting blood, surgical placement of intracoelomic acoustic tags, and collect semen in mature males,” said Hyatt. “My research interests on the expeditions include capture and handling stress physiology and reproductive physiology.”
We’re excited to see how this partnership continues and look forward to Dr. Hyatt’s future expeditions with OCEARCH as well as what the data collected will reveal.
OCEARCH and AAQ will continue to work together during our first-ever Shark Awareness Weekend being held this Memorial Day holiday weekend (May 27-29). Similar to our other awareness weekends, we’ll celebrate all weekend-long and raise money to help the wild counterparts of our animal ambassadors. Special programming, cool games and more awaits you this upcoming Shark Awareness Weekend so mark your calendar!
Until next time, have a good one Adventure Insider readers!