Shark Week 2015 is here!!! Normally, I am not crazy about Dicovery Channel’s Shark Week because they have really disappointed the Ocean Conservation Community over the past 5 years or so, especially in 2013, when they aired the fakumentary called “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives.” However, the new President at Discovery said they were moving away from fake documentaries and heading back towards more scientifically accurate and appropriate programming. I’ve watched the first episode of this year’s Shark Week, “Shark Ninja” and I found ti to be quite intriguing.
No matter how we view shark week ocean conservationists and scientists use the focus on sharks to make people aware of the major issues these sharks face, but also to shed light on how important these species are to the oceans. Sharks are an apex predator, which means they control the populations of the prey and maintain a balance in the food web in their habitats. A lack of sharks could throw the food webs out of wack and change the make up of the ocean, which could have negative environmental and economic impoacts.
I am a fan of using the public’s focus on Shark Week to make the Speak Up For Blue community more aware of the variety of shark conservation and science projects that are being conducted as you read this article. As you know, I launched the Speak Up For Blue Podcast a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to use this platform to spread awareness of the projects that I know that are happening around the world.
On the 1st episode of this special series of podcasts, I interview Michael Bear, Director of Citizen Science at Ocean Sanctuaries, who as an avid SCUBA diver in San Diego, Califonia started a Citizen Science program for other divers to monitor the presence of sevengill sharks. These mysterious sharks were suddenly noticed in 2009 and it seemed as though they appreared out of nowhere. Michael himself recounts in his interview his first encounter with a sevengill shark (his sotory is quite amazing!).
Michael’s Citizen Science program didn’t begin with support from the scientific community nor did it have funding. It started with a passionate diver who wanted to know more about a mysterious species. The program gained traction within the diving community and caught wind in the media. Scientists started contacting Michael to discuss doing more detailed studies. And now the program is in it’s 5th year with lots of data including the possibility of indentifying individuals by unique markings.
Find out more about this project and how you can get involved in Citizen Science by listening to the podcast.
If you like this episode then leave a review and comment down below!
Notes from this weeks podcast