On 15 February Alison Kock, Research Director for Shark Spotters and Project Leader of the Save Our Seas funded White Shark Research Programme in Cape Town, gave a presentation to a sold out audience of over 300 people in Sarasota, USA. Mote has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955 by legendary shark researcher Dr. Eugenie Clark. Today it has evolved into seven research centres, is home to more than 230 staff members, including about 40 Ph.D. scientists who lead their respective fields. Public outreach has also become a key part of their mission.
Alison’s talk entitled “Great White Shark: Advancing our knowledge of the world’s greatest predatory fish” covered her current research activities in South Africa such as tagging, tracking and attaching of animal-bourne cameras to the sharks, as well as the pioneering efforts of Cape Town and the Shark Spotters helping people co-exist safely with white sharks. Alison also got to meet Dr. Eugenie Clarke and the other esteemed shark researchers and educators, like the President of Mote, Dr. Kumar Mahadevan, Research Director Robert Heuter and Vice-president of Education, Jim Wharton. Finally, Alison was treated to a behind the scenes look at their cutting edge shark research and seahorse research projects.