PROJECT LEMON AID
COMBINING RESEARCh, EDUCATION and community
in Turks and Caicos
Project Lemon Aid aims to establish a base line population survey of juvenile lemon sharks at sites around the Turks and Caicos Island in order to investigate if the females return to the same mangroves they grew up in. The first stage of this research involves tagging the baby to sub-adult lemon sharks in the inshore waters with a focus on key mangrove habitats. The PIT tag similar to the one that you may tag your dog or cat with will stay with the animal the rest of its life and if sampled again will reveal growth and migration around the Islands of these sharks. Also genetics from a tiny fin clip on the dorsal fin of the shark will help us reveal family trees of the lemon sharks inhabiting the area and see how the Turks and Caicos populations are related to the Bahamas and Florida lemon shark stocks. Partnering with Big Blue Collective has allowed us to access our study sites as well as having local knowledge to assist with tides and locations. As part of this project, we are partnering with Edward C Gartland Youth Centre to provide hands on learning opportunities for local students. They are able to join us on the research days and participate in all aspects of the research.
ALL RESEARCH DONE UNDER PERMITS FROM DECR
The team then returned to Providenciales to continue data collection and visit schools. The first shark of the season was a male with a total length of 62.5 cm. This year the Sharks4Kids team was able to have 20 high school students join the tagging days. Science teacher and team member Leann Winn taught all the students about mangrove ecosystems and ecology as part of their time in the field. Students also learned what data is collected from the sharks and why. Many of the students were also able to assist with a scientific workup, helping the team take measurements, collect DNA samples and tag the sharks. Local team members Arenthia Baker and Luis Serpas were also able to assist in the field.
The team then returned to Providenciales again in November to continue our research and education programs. We were very busy with a team in the field and a team in schools each day. Kaylam Pratt and Ele Love, both staff from Big Blue Collective, were in the field with us every day and were a huge help. During this trip, we explored new study areas and caught and tagged 17 sharks, including a tiger shark, which was exciting. We visited 7 schools, did 25 presentations, and spoke to nearly 900 students. We also donated hundreds of posters (including our new Sharks and Rays of Turks and Caicos poster), 3D models, activity packets, and 4Ocean Bracelets.
Project Lemon Aid 2022: The first baby lemon shark caught for the project near Mangrove Cay was a male the team have named “Turks" coming in at around 65cm in length. The first female of the project “Caicos”, was almost 10 cm smaller and would have been born within the last couple of weeks. If you are interested in supporting the project; providing more opportunities for local students to get in the field you can “Adopt and Name A Shark” for a donation. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. In return you will get a photograph of your very shark, information on its measurements, where it was caught etc and whenever the sharks tag is recorded again we will send you an update.
Videos filmed & Edited by Nova West
CLICK THE IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD OUR FIN TASTIC ACTIVITY PACKETs
Learn about lemon sharks, mangroves, and the research we are doing. created by Sharktopia
learn with our jawsome labeling activity and word search.