Thank you Dr. Alyssa Andres and she is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Florida State University, Coastal and Marine Laboratory. The work investigates the physiology and ecology of marine predatory fishes, particularly sharks. They aim to better understand how fish are equipped to cope with environmental and anthropogenic stressors and how they may respond to current and future changes in their environment and ecosystems.
She discussed the Crystal River Bull Shark Project at the meeting. The research team is made up of researchers at FSU, USF, Minorities in Shark Science, and a local business owner in Crystal River. The project aims to use integrated techniques and technology to quantify bull shark movement, abundance, and habitat use within Crystal River/Kings Bay. While these sharks are not new to these waters, there exists to date no research on the population within Kings Bay. In addition, anecdotally the numbers of baby bull sharks within this region may be increasing, but there has never been an effort to categorize these waterways as important nursery habitat for this species. As top predators bull sharks serve a number of roles within their ecosystem and are vital to the health and longevity of our cherished waterways in Crystal River and Kings Bay. The work will not only serve to better understand these animals in the Gulf of Mexico, but will serve to inform species and vital springs management, as well as aiding in mitigating potential human-shark interactions. They will present on the importance of sharks and the variety of roles within their ecosystems, the many ways in which we will study these powerful and mysterious animals, how our data will be used, ways we are getting the Citrus County community involved at large, and specific ways in which the Rotary Club can help us in our mission.