Field School, in support of interns with the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, was able to lead a shark dissection for a group of attentive University of Miami students. Although research by both organizations is built around non-lethal sampling methods and minimizing mortality of our research subjects, on rare occasions small sharks die due to stress or predation by larger sharks. This was the case with our two dissection subjects. We had an adult female Atlantic sharpnose (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) and approximately ½ of an adult Blacknose shark (Carcharhinus acronotus). These sharks allowed us to analyze, in depth, many of the physiological adaptations that make sharks such successful organisms, and gave students the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the animals they study. We were also able to take valuable tissue samples not obtainable from living sharks.
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