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Bimini Shark Lab – The Here & Now

Established in 1990 by Dr Samuel Gruber—a recognized authority on shark behavior and sensory
biology—the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation (BBFSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
located on the island of South Bimini, Bahamas.

Dr. Gruber, a professor at University of Miami at the time, started BBFSF in the 1990’s with the aim
of establishing a permanent field station, with the ability to conduct extensive year-round research.
Since its inception, BBFSF has become a world-renowned institution and has produced over 25
years’ worth of exciting and novel research driven by their principal investigators. One of the new projects led by doctoral student Vital Heim focuses on Identifying the seasonal distribution and relative densities of scalloped and great hammerhead sharks in the western North Atlantic.

 

 

This includes quantifying horizontal movement patterns of the two species to assess the
efficacy of hypothetical time-area closures for improved conservation management. These species
are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List and in urgent need of increased protection. Vital is
also looking to characterize predator-prey interactions between great hammerhead sharks and
southern stingrays in Bimini to investigate potential implications resulting from the loss of top-down
regulation in a marine ecosystem.

 

 

The Sharklab has been continuing Dr Gruber’s legacy of researching the biology and ecology of lemon sharks. A new project led by doctoral student Clemency White investigates how lemon sharks use visual, electromagnetic and olfactory cues to interpret their environment and successfully orientate and navigate. This information will then be used to assess how anthropogenic noise pollution, such as the sound emitted from a boat engine, might influence or interfere with shark sensory cues.