JS5 2 Bull Shark Tissue Sampling

We begin our dives today at a seamount in northern Costa Rica on the Pacific side. Our goal is to assist scientists and researchers with tissue sampling adult Bull Sharks.

Bull shark tissue samplingEach member of the scuba diving team has a job - photographers and videographers document the sharks while others measure and take tissue samples. Everyone is on the lookout for a shark to observe and the Divemaster and safety diver watches out for the team.

Our first dive begins at a cleaning station where Bull Sharks have been found in the past. Our expectation is to find the sharks moving slowly, allowing the smaller fish to remove parasites from their skin.

Several adult Bull Sharks are in the area, but too far off to sample. Many of these sharks are between 2 and 3 meters, or 6 to 9 feet in length. As the opportunity arrives, the diver paces the shark and launches the rod to gather the sample.

The sampling tool used for tissue sampling is attached to a pole, with an elastic band. The band helps power the the tool into the tough skin of a passing shark. What remains inside the tool after contact is a small sampling of the shark's skin tissue. The samples collected, sealed in a lab tube and sent to a lab for analysis.

The reasoning for sampling and documenting these species is simply for their protection and conservation.

As citizen scientists, we are able to take part in the protection, conservation and regeneration of fisheries. Our assistance not only promotes local healthy ecosystems, ecotourism and sustainability, it also promotes healthy ecosystems and sustainability globally.