Shark week kicked off with a simulated swim between an Olympian and a great white but here locally the Island University is doing something a little more traditional, like going out and researching real sharks.
You can watch it all on the Discovery Channel where local experts like Marine Biology Professor, Doctor Greg Stunz and students like Kesley Gibson go out into the Gulf to collect data.
“The episode was about us floating on an artificial reef, so we lived immersed in the ocean for seven days floating for hundreds of miles it was really great,” Dr.
Crews at the Harte Research Institute study sharks year-round but action shots caught on camera are spotlighted each summer.
“We had shark cages so when the sharks got aggressive we could get into it, so we we’re never really worried about the sharks biting us although they were pretty aggressive when they came in,” Dr. Stunz said.
He says, while the predators are combative, the ones along the Texas coast don’t tend to bite, they’re just here to maintain the food chain.
“They’re what we call the great balance keepers, they keep everything in check as Apex predators so it’s important if we want healthy oceans is to have healthy predators and that’s what our research focuses on.”
Researchers are starting to notice a pattern amongst particular species off our shores.
“It turns out our Mako sharks are here in the winter time, right now they all go to the Caribbean and they’ve done that twice now, so we’re starting to really see a pattern where they’re up here breeding in the winter but probably pupping or having their young in Caribbean in the summer in those really warm waters.”
Plus, they’re using new techniques to study the sea creatures around the coast 365 days a year.
“We traditionally catch them and bring them alongside the boat that way we can keep them in the water and we can do our tagging procedure. This new method using the spear gun allows us to not intrude on their space,” Student, Kesley Gibson said.
The screening of the Lost Cage episode is Wednesday night from 6 – 9 at Brewster Street Ice House. Everyone is invited to the free event.?
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