600 words • 3~4 min read

Vote for me in the blogging scholarship and support our shark conservation research!

Yesterday, I asked for your support and vote in the 2011 Blogging Scholarship. Since that time, over 7,000 of you have voted for me, and as of this writing, I am in the lead! Thanks for your help and encouragement. Andrew announced earlier today that for every day I’m in the lead, he’ll post an embarrassing picture of me. For many of you, that’s incentive enough to vote for me. However, I also want to tell you what I would use the $10,000 scholarship for if I won.

In addition to boring stuff like tuition, supplies, and travel support, for my own dissertation (assessing the ecological importance of sharks to coral reefs) , I will use the money to support our lab’s ongoing shark conservation research. My lab, the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami, has many shark research projects taking place. Yesterday, some of that research was used by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as background in their decision to make hammerheads (great, smooth, and scalloped) and tiger sharks protected species in Florida waters- a proud moment for us and for the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, which we are affiliated with.

One of our long-term projects involves using satellite tags to track the movements of several species of shark, including tiger sharks, great hammerhead sharks, and bull sharks. We use this data to determine where the sharks spend most of their time, which is very important information for managers. Best of all, we allow private groups (individual donors, school science classes, clubs) to “adopt a shark” and name it. Anyone can track these sharks on our website by using a free Google Earth plugin to see where they’ve gone.

If I win the 2011 blogging scholarship, I will use some of the money to adopt a shark in the name of you, the readers of Southern Fried Science. We’ll have a contest to name the shark, and I’ll post regular updates about how he or she is doing and where he or she has been.  This is a unique opportunity for you all to become involved with shark conservation research.

The shark tags. Upper left and upper right show me with the tags (photo credit Austin Gallagher, RJD). Bottom center shows a bull shark with a tag fitted on the dorsal fin (Photo Credit: Christine Shepard, RJD)

If you haven’t yet done so, please take a minute and vote for me (David Shiffman/Southern Fried Science) by clicking here. If you have the time, I’d appreciate it if you could encourage your friends, colleagues, and fellow ocean lovers to support me as well by sharing that link on your Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Thanks, everyone!

UPDATED WITH NEW VOTING LINK