Shark populations are declining worldwide, and some shark populations have decreased over 90 percent around Florida. There are many conservation strategies that can be employed to help protect these animals, including: citizen science and ecotourism. This internship explored using these strategies to make a difference for sharks. SharksCount is Shark Savers’ citizen science program in Florida that employs these two strategies. This rep01i documents my internship with Shark Savers. SharksCount trains citizen scientists and provides them with identification and data sheet to record opportunistic shark sightings or zero shark sighting while diving recreationally. As an intern, I was tasked to write a report on data collected in Florida from February 2011 through the present. The data from February 2011-August 2013 was compiled, organized and analyzed, and l wrote a repmi on the results of the analysis of these data. The results showed that the largest number of sharks seen were in Palm Beach, but Juno had the highest number of sharks observed per dive. The dive site with the highest number of observations was “Tunnels”, in Jupiter. The data also shows that there could be a small increase in the probability of seeing a shark during longer dives, and also at reef dive sites. Continued data collection may yield more accurate and interesting results, but more citizen scientists need to be recruited and trained to increase the amount of reliable data being submitted. The Adopt-A-Bull-Shark Initiative was a fundraising campaign using the crowdfunding platform lndiegogo. I helped develop the campaign by creating different donation levels and perks associated with these levels, and also created the budget and all of the materials for this campaign. I also wrote a blog post that was circulated in the Shark Savers’ newsletter and on the Internet, and promoted the campaign via social media. The campaign goal was $22,000 in the two-month period Indiegogo allows. We raised $11,600, and discovered that the most popular perk level was the $25 level. If we ran this campaign again, a less ambitious goal would be a better option. However, money was still raised to aid SharksCount and the Great Fiji Shark Count, and further shark conservation.
Torkelson, Natalie, "Protecting sharks: ecological importance and conservation strategies." (2013). Internship Reports (Restricted). 198.
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