Miami Waterkeeper’s Junior Ambassador youth program successfully completed a challenging year of learning and growing through environmental advocacy and community service projects. To celebrate their hard work, students who graduated from the program participated in a shark research excursion with Field School, a local organization that provides hands-on marine science experiences!
Our team met early at the Rickenbacker Marina on June 27th to organize supplies and discuss the day ahead with Field School staff. While on the vessel, ambassadors had the opportunity to learn and talk about important shark research regarding shark food webs, migration, and ecology. Ambassadors assisted researchers by helping activate long-line gear to catch juvenile shark species and gather information about them.
After setting longlines and patiently waiting, we finally had our chance...Shark on! Our first shark catch of the day was a mature black nose shark. Although they may look like juveniles because of their size, the black nose shark you see here is actually full grown!
Once the shark was on board, it was time for our Ambassadors to put their training to the test. Everyone had a role and a task in order to take all needed measurements of the shark as quickly as possible. Students were able to measure PCL (pre-caudal length), TL (total length), and Girth while also participating in fin clipping for genetic sampling and tagging the shark to track its future movements/captures. Blood and muscle samples were also taken by the researchers on board to better understand things like the shark’s diet.
All in all, our Junior Ambassador group had an amazing time out on the water. We ended up catching three black nose sharks along with two very large (and angry) barracudas!
Do you have a high school student who may be interested in applying for our Junior Ambassador program? There is still time to apply for next year’s cohort! The deadline to apply is July 31st and you can find all information, including the link to the application, on the Junior Ambassador program page by clicking here!