Hard Work
Pays Off

Achievements

Beneath the Waves conducts research that is cutting-edge and policy-relevant. Working with civic leaders, local and national governments, institutions and private organizations, media and NGOs, Beneath the Waves focuses on putting science into action.

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Catalyzing Ocean Policy

First long-term study of shark sanctuaries: Working with a diverse team of collaborators, in 2018 we launched the first ever study of how large-scale marine protected areas may benefit sharks. To date over 180 sharks have been safely tagged and released with acoustic transmitters which will ping for 7 years. 9 sharks have been satellite-tagged highlighting residency inside the sanctuary. This has also resulted in nearly 1,000 physiological samples for health screens, molecular studies, and feeding studies. We also established acoustic monitoring systems off two primary islands, Nassau and Great Exuma.

Scientific Publications: Over 45 peer-reviewed papers since 2015, with several on the way. Recent publications include a collaborative big-data, global risk assessment of sharks to fishing (Nature), and an analysis the negative impacts of removing top predators (Biological Conservation). See full list of publications below.

Assessment and conservation of threatened species: Creation of policy-documents synthesizing new data for the 2019 proposals for oceanic sharks to be listed on the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). CITES is a multilateral treaty to conserve endangered flora and fauna through the improved reporting of trade.

New protected areas: Study and identification of 3 critical biological hotspots zones within the Bahamas Exclusive Economic Zone to be considered for new spatial zoning under the country’s commitment to protecting 20% of its waters by 2020.

Caribbean ocean stewardship: Recommendations for sustained management to the Bahamas Exclusive Economic Zone in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Agriculture and Ministry of Tourism.

Advancing Scientific Discovery

New deep-sea hotspots for sharks: Through cutting-edge exploration science, we have gathered new information on a variety of deep-sea hotspots for sharks in the Caribbean. This research has uncovered a potential mating ground for tiger sharks in the twilight zone, from 200-1000m deep. An increased focus on this area will continue through 2024.

Innovating sensor-technology to study the secret lives of sharks: Working with researchers from Trinity College in Dublin and Florida International University, we have been applying high-resolution data-loggers to sharks and recording their every move, revealing incredible new insights into thermal biology, adaptation, and movement. We’ve also begun collaborating with Massachusetts Institute of Technology to co-opt and apply nanotechnology and sensors into studies of marine species.

Scientific Publications: A handful of new discoveries, syntheses, and development of innovative tools have appeared in over a dozen peer-reviewed papers in recent years. These include the first ever video recordings of the sharpnose sevengill shark (Journal of Ocean Science Foundation), reviews on hammerhead shark biology (Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries), challenges facing shark tourism (Marine Policy), recording chorusing toadfish (Environmental Biology of Fishes), and using drones to study the scavenging behavior of sharks and crocodiles (Journal of Ethology).

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Multi-Sector Engagement

New program and philanthropic model to support research: In 2019 launched first ever shark conservation research experience for hotel guests, in partnership with the Grand Isle Resort and Spa in Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Impact Expeditions with Seakeepers: Since 2017 we have executed 6 large-scale research expeditions with the International Seakeepers Society on a number of motor yachts to the Bahamas, underscoring the integration of marine research with private sector philanthropy.

A model for change: Coverage of our innovative approach to NGO development and strategy in Forbes: “Can the Can Scientists, Entrepreneurs, And The Private Sector Come Together To Save Sharks?” with interviews from James Sternlicht (Advisor/Oceanic Global), Mark Dalio (OceanX), and Tony Gilbert (Seakeepers). Part of a 4-story feature in Forbes.

Local engagement in Bahamas: Working with Exuma Foundation, we have begun exposing Bahamian students to marine research and STEM during our expeditions to the Bahamas.

Graduate student mentorship: Annual matriculation and support of 2 to 4 Northeastern University graduate students through our Atlantic Ocean Program, supporting the career trajectories of future marine scientists.

High school programs: Working with Thayer Academy in Braintree, Massachusetts, we have worked with over 30 high school and middle-school students, exposing them to real-world science and our ocean programs.

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Global Education and Awareness

We take an active role in telling the stories of our work through engaging media, live engagements, as well as online.

Earned Media: Online press from partnerships and news stories have garnered over 1.5 billion impressions in 2019 alone.

Social media: Highly active presence on Instagram and Facebook, reaching over 30,000 unique followers daily with news stories, conservation, and engaging media. Our in-house produced content has generated over 100,000 views since 2017.

Speaking: Members of our team have delivered 30 presentations and keynote lectures to universities and groups around the world, including an invited keynote in Hong Kong at the Royal Geographical Society in 2018.

Film and TV shoots: Featured on the lead shows on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week in 2018 (Shaq, over 5 million viewers) and 2019. Filmed a natural history TV show with National Geographic in May 2019 to air in 2020.