Why do you study sharks?
I have always been fascinated by the sea and felt at home traipsing through rock pools or being underwater. As a young girl fishing with family and friends in Australia, we accidentally caught a Port Jackson shark less than one meter long. Before releasing it, I felt the strength of this small animal, but it wasn't the sort of shark I had seen in films or TV. It was a funny-looking animal that didn't have big teeth and laid spiral-shaped eggs. I had no idea sharks like this existed. I was hooked!
A great moment in the field:
I've been blessed to work with some amazing and threatened species, such as giant tiger sharks from bottom of the ocean, pregnant lemon sharks moments before they gave birth, critically endangered smalltooth sawfish, and my new personal favorite: the endemic catsharks found in South Africa, including wriggling baby catsharks that fit in the palm of your hand moments after they hatched.
My most memorable moments always include the people I shared the experiences with. Nothing beats the exclamation of sheer joy people make when they have a memorable shark encounter. These moments can shift one’s attitude toward sharks. With a quarter of shark and ray species threatened with extinction, sharks need all the help that they can get. My dream is to show people how awesome these animals are and inspire new shark lovers and advocates.