For The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, we took a bite out of the action. Thanks for coming to watch our video interview featuring URI’s own shark experts Brad Wetherbee, Jason Ramsay, Anabela Maia, and Laura Wandel.
Brad Wetherbee’s background is in the ecology and behavior of sharks and rays, and he currently works with a team to tag and track various species of sharks in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Through his research, he hopes to help protect sharks by learning more about their movements and migration patterns, and he’s also learned a thing or two about stingrays.
Jason Ramsay, who completed his graduate and undergraduate degrees at URI, focuses on shark physiology, especially the mechanics and function of their jaws. As a senior, he discovered at least one kind of shark that not only used its teeth to bite and tear at its prey, but it could also flatten its biting teeth when eating shellfish. Since then, his research has helped provide more insight on how modern-day shark jaws work and how it affects their eating habits.
Anabela Maia holds a BSc. in Marine Biology from the University of Lisbon (2004) and a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Rhode Island (2011). She is now a postdoctoral associate at Tufts University. Since 2006, Anabela has been working on aspects of shark and their relatives locomotion, namely the function of shark dorsal fins during steady swimming and maneuvering and escape responses of juvenile spiny dogfish and skates. She also discovered that there’s more to a shark’s fin than meets the eye.
Laura is the supervisor of Fish and Invertebrates at Mystic Aquarium. She became fascinated with sharks after seeing the movie Jaws at five years old, and she has been studying them ever since! After graduating from Texas A&M University, she’s worked with a variety of zoo animals including wild hoofstock, birds, reptiles, and carnivores but her passion has always been the ocean and elasmobranchs. She has spent the last seven years working with elasmobranchs in facilities all over the country and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Laura is an advocate for behavioral enrichment and training with sharks, stingrays, and skates because they are highly intelligent animals. She is also very interested in the role nutrition plays in the overall health and wellbeing of elasmobranchs on display in aquariums.