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Deep Water Sharks: A New Wave of Ocean Exploration in the Bahamas
Date: 11.15.2010

In late September, our Shark Research and Conservation Program launched a new project aimed at investigating the diversity and abundance of deep ocean sharks living in The Bahamas. During six surveys over a three-day period, collaborating scientists—Dr. Dean Grubbs of Florida State University, Dr. Demian Chapman of Stony Brook University, and Lucy Howey-Jordan of Microwave Telemetry, Inc.—were able to capture 25 animals from six different species. These ranged from a 389 cm (13 feet) bluntnose sixgill shark to a 47 cm (18 inches) fully grown sawtail catshark.

“I have conducted research on deep water sharks in a number of locations around the world… Cape Eleuthera appeared to be an ideal location to expand my research; however, I never expected the incredible diversity and abundance of species we encountered these last few days,” said Dr. Dean Grubbs. He continued to explain that, “The particular highlight for me was in fact the smallest shark we captured, a Springer’s sawtail catshark. This species was only described in 1998 and there are relatively few records of it anywhere in the world.”

This new deep water project is providing a unique educational experience for students from The Island School who, alongside scientists at CEI, will continue to gather data over the coming weeks.

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