Students have been busy this week pouring over the data they have collected all semester in Research class and trying to make sense of their results. Here’s what student Khalil has to say about his research experience.
In a twenty-minute boat ride from The Island School boathouse, you may see a buoy. Beneath this buoy or pair of buoys there is a rope that reaches eight-hundred to one-thousand one-hundred meters beneath the water, leading to 22-26 hooks catching sharks and occasionally bony fish, or it holds a 7 foot cage holding gulper sharks and Cuban dogfish and a few cameras for The Cape Eluethera Institute and Island School scientists to investigate the post-release mortality rate and factors effecting the mortality rate of gulper sharks and Cuban dogfish. In a group of six Island School students and two CEI researchers as teachers, we are researching to study and find the death rate of gulper sharks and Cuban dogfish after they have been caught and released on long-lines as by-catch by commercial fisheries. We also study the factors that affect the mortality rates. In doing this research project I have had a lot of fun, and we have become experts in gulper shark and Cuban dogfish taxonomy, and stress responses, and we are great at pulling up long-lines even in hard-rocking waves and rain. We joke with our teacher, telling him that we will save the sharks, and that his spirit animal is a Cuban dogfish, even though our goal is to inform fishery management, and everyone knows his spirit animal is actually a cheetah. All in all I have learned a lot and had a lot of fun in Shark research.