Actor, diver, and ocean advocate Austin Nichols (“One Tree Hill,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Wimbledon,” and “John from Cincinnati”) joined the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami, Oceana, and Nautica earlier this summer to tag sharks off the coast of Florida. Nichols helped tag seven sharks while he was on the water, including a nurse shark, a blacktip shark, four blacknose sharks, and a lemon shark.
It’s not every day that celebrities help with scientific research, but earlier this month, Austin Nichols (“One Tree Hill,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Wimbledon,” and “John from Cincinnati”) shared his passion about sharks with researchers at the University of Miami. He spent two days off the coast of Florida tagging sharks with Oceana and the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami, and tagged a total of seven sharks while he was on the water.
This is the tenth in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.
Today’s featured junior Ocean Hero finalist is shy eight-year-old Sophi Bromenshenkel, who has been working from her hometown of Richfield, Minnesota to protect sharks.
Sophi’s interest in the oceans started on a fishing trip with her uncle in the Florida Keys four years ago. Last year, when she saw a pregnant bull shark left for dead on a beach near her uncle’s home, she decided she had to take action.
By selling lemonade and hot chocolate, shark cookies and wristbands, and through email campaigns and local fliers, Sophi has raised more than $3,500 for sharks. She has partnered with the University of Miami’s RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, where her funds pay for satellite tags on sharks.
Check out the video in today's expedition update from Oceana marine scientist Elizabeth Wilson. The scientists can't resist giving the baby bonnethead sharks a few smooches before releasing them.
The Oceana Latitude is now docked in St. Petersburg, FL for the next few days. I’ve re-boarded the Latitude with two scientists from the National Aquarium, Andy Dehart and Andrew Pulver. We’ll be using two of the Latitude’s tenders (smaller boats), the Longitude and the Lat-long, to do shark research day trips.
It’s time for the next leg of the journey: shark tagging! Dustin reports:
The Oceana Latitude is now headed South, down the west coast of Florida.
While the ship is docked in St. Petersburg for the next few days, scientists from Oceana and the National Aquarium, including Discovery Channel shark advisor Andy Dehart, will work to tag various shark species several miles offshore.
In addition to collecting basic data from each shark, the attached metal tags can provide future information on stock identity, movements and migration, abundance, age and growth, mortality, and behavior. The tags can also help identify these sharks later as those that were in the general vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, which could help to determine the long-term impacts of the oil spill on shark populations.
Oceana hopes to see several shark species, including spinner, blacktip, blacknose, dusky, lemon, bull, mako, tiger, hammerhead and bonnethead.