Shark Encounter

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The Center for Latin American Studies has worked closely with the Miami Science Museum and UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to create a Latin American and Caribbean Module for Upward Bound’s Integrated Marine Program and College Training (IMPACT) initiative.

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The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) brought two groups of Upward Bound students to the University of Miami’s research station at Broad Key in August to assist researchers in the field and learn firsthand about the marine ecosystems of South Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

The Upward Bound Students—low income, first-generation college-bound students preparing for degrees in science, math, and technology-related fields—come from a variety of Miami Dade County Public Schools and are part of the Miami Science Museum’s Upward Bound Math and Science Center. With the expertise of the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, the students were able to participate in cutting edge field research and learn about the interconnectedness of the Caribbean Basin.

The students worked with researchers Neil Hammerschlag and Evan D’Alessandro, measuring and tagging lemon, nurse, and hammerhead sharks so that scientists can track the sharks and better understand their behavior. The students also took blood and fin samples and conducted biopsies and reflexology tests.

Students also explored the terrestrial and marine environments via hiking, kayaking, boating, and snorkeling. During the excursions, the Upward Bound students were paired with Rosenstiel School graduate and undergraduate students.

The field excursions, one of the Center for Latin American Studies’ new community outreach programs, were partially supported by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI Grant.

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