National Geographic Explorers Combat Shark Stigma on SharkFest

National Geographic Explorers Combat Shark Stigma on SharkFest

MIAMI — In celebration of this yr’s SharkFest, Nationwide Geographic Explorers Dr. Shireen Rahimi and Dr. Catherine Macdonald have teamed as much as fight the stigma round sharks and break down what makes them so important to the well being of our marine ecosystems.

Dr. Rahimi is a marine anthropologist and underwater filmmaker based mostly in Miami, Florida. Her analysis concentrate on coral reefs has continuously introduced her face-to-face with sharks, a lot of which name the reefs their residence.

“I typically will crew up with different scientists who’ve extra experience than me once I’m attempting to inform a selected story,” says Dr. Rahimi. “A type of folks is Dr. Catherine Macdonald.”

Whereas everybody else is singing about child sharks, Dr. Macdonald really research them. Because the director of Discipline Faculty and a lecturer on the College of Miami’s Rosenstiel Faculty of Marine and Atmospheric Science, her analysis focuses on Biscayne Bay which serves as a refuge for younger sharks who stay in its shallow waters. “That makes it a extremely treasured ecosystem,” says Dr. Macdonald. “Each when it comes to that shallow water lets issues like seagrass beds thrive and it lets small sharks keep away from larger sharks that do not wish to be in such shallow water.”

In response to Dr. Macdonald, the research and preservation of those sharks is so vital as a result of, regardless of their small measurement, their existence is important to the general well being of marine ecosystems. “They play such an vital position in meals chains as a result of when you concentrate on the large sharks just like the apex predatory hammerheads or nice whites, a giant a part of a lot of their diets are different sharks and rays,” she says. “In case you care concerning the well being of our oceans, if you happen to care concerning the well being of shark populations, it is best to care not simply concerning the massive guys however concerning the little ones too.”

A vital analysis instrument for shark scientists and conservationists like Dr. Macdonald is tagging, which permits them to watch and monitor sharks to find out about their conduct of their pure habitats. When tagging sharks, researchers may accumulate blood samples, biopsies, and measurements. “We’re amassing knowledge about who’s giving start when, how massive are the infants, and in addition questions like ‘how’s the bay doing proper now?'” she says.

Although shark bites are uncommon among the many normal inhabitants, Dr. Macdonald notes that for researchers like herself and Dr. Rahimi, the danger is bigger. Earlier this yr, whereas filming shark tagging off the coast of Florida, Dr. Rahimi suffered a minor chew from a shark that was being launched. “It is really worse to get bitten by a canine as a result of canine’ mouths have much more micro organism in them,” Dr. Rahimi says of the incident.

Fortunately, the shut encounter didn’t deter Dr. Rahimi from persevering with her vital work of documenting, finding out, and defending sharks. “It is so inspiring to be working side-by-side with Catherine,” she says, “doing our greatest to assist these sharks stay and thrive of their habitats.”

Dive into extra jaw-dropping SharkFest content material on Nationwide Geographic and Disney+.

Nationwide Geographic is a division of Disney, the father or mother firm of ABC Localish.

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