Sharks4Kids Ambassador Michaela Palmer
We are thrilled to welcome Michaela to our ambassador team! She has been assisting us with outreach events and creating new learning resources!
I live in South Florida and work for an environmental engineering firm focused on coastal management and water resources. I am currently pursuing a MS at Johns Hopkins University, where I plan to focus my research on using geospatial analyses to inform shark conservation policies. I love to freedive with sharks in my spare time. I enjoy sharing my photos on social media so others can see the beauty and importance of these animals. By sharing these images, I hope to combat sharks’ negative reputation and inspire others to fight for their protection.
1. What is your favorite shark and why?
My favorite shark alternates between a lemon shark and mako shark. I love the lemon's shark inquisitive personalities, but the mako shark's speed and agility always leaves me in awe.
2. What is one shark you would like to dive with/ study?
I would love to encounter a thresher shark! Their use of tails to stun prey is such a cool hunting behavior.
3. What was the first shark you snorkeled/dived with and where?
The first shark I (unintentionally) dove with was a great white shark off of Northern California. The visibility was horrible, so I only saw a vague shape.
After moving to Florida, visibility and diversity of shark species definitely increased.
4. Why do you want to teach kids about sharks? I hope to show kids how important sharks are to our ocean as a whole. Understanding the role they play as a keystone species is the first step in fighting for their conservation! I also hope to demonstrate that sharks shouldn't be feared, but respected. 5. What is the coolest/most interesting thing you've seen while studying/diving with sharks?I once got to work up a pregnant bull shark during a research experience with the Bimini Shark Lab. It was a beautiful experience to encounter.
6. What is one thing you wish everyone knew about sharks? I wish everyone knew about the critical importance sharks play in our ocean's health. Sharks are a great indicator for ocean health because they help keep the ecosystem balanced.
We depend on oceans for many crucial ecosystem services, including carbon storage, oxygen generation, food and income generation. The importance of sharks and the ocean to global climate cannot be underestimated.