New Smyrna Beach is often called the “shark-bite capital of the world” because surfers frequently encounter sharks while surfing alongside the rock jetty at Ponce Inlet.
The species most often spotted during these encounters are blacktip sharks, which will be the featured topic during the June monthly online lecture.
Beth Bowers, a Ph.D. candidate in integrative biology at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Florida Atlantic University, will discuss blacktip sharks and their prevalence on Florida’s east coast during an online presentation set for Thursday, June 18, at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Bowers is the lab supervisor at Florida Atlantic’s Elasmobranch Research Laboratory. She is also the newsletter editor of the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists and Florida Chapter Student Subunit Vice President of the American Fisheries Society.
The blacktip shark has distinctive black markings on the tips of its fins. They are known to forage in shallower waters and are frequently encountered by humans, sometimes resulting in bites when the shark mistakes a surfer’s hand or foot for prey.
According to The International Shark Attack File, blacktip sharks are “responsible for roughly 20 percent of the attacks that occur in Florida waters.” Most incidents, however, result in minor wounds.
For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.