Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Citizen Science?
Citizen Science is an opportunity for non-professional scientists to be involved in scientific inquiry through proactive participation with scientists working on real time problems relating to their research goals. Participation involves scientifically sound practices and measurable outcomes.
- How do I join a shark tagging trip?
Twice a year, we run citizen scientist trips. We will notify everyone who filled out a contact form of upcoming and available trip dates. From there, we fill trips on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Does it cost anything?
At the time of filling trips, we will provide you with information on how to submit your donation to secure your spot on a shark tagging trip. We ask for a minimum donation of $300 per citizen scientist. Conducting research in the marine environment is expensive. Our non-profit laboratory funds its research exclusively through the generous support of its donors. In addition, donations help us to subsidize the cost of this experience for regional students who couldn’t otherwise afford to participate.
- Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes. The University of Miami is a Florida not-for-profit corporation and all donations are tax deductible as appropriate by law. You will be sent appropriate documentation.
- What’s your cancellation policy?
In the event of a severe weather cancellation, like very strong winds or lightning, we’ll work to get you on another trip. If for any reason you need to cancel on us we ask for advanced notice so we may offer your spot to another citizen scientist. Unfortunately donations are non-refundable.
- Do you guarantee that I’ll see a shark?
The simple fact is that we sometimes don’t find any sharks – but this is rare. We typically catch several sharks per trip, and consider ourselves lucky when we do! While one of our research goals is to better understand the movements of shark species, we can’t always predict where they will be. Moreover, as you are probably aware by now, many shark species worldwide have experienced declines in their populations. In short, we’re studying animals with declining populations that move over great distances in a vast ocean. We hope you’re there with us when we collect important data from the sharks we do get to encounter!
- Do I have to be scuba certified? Will I get to swim with sharks?
No. We conduct all of our research from the deck of a coast guard certified vessel.
- What do I need to bring?
Everything you need to bring will be shared with you prior to your trip.
- How else can I support shark research?
Please check out our Adopt A Shark program. You can support our research by purchasing equipment (such as satellite tags) necessary to conduct the research that we do. Want to learn more about how we use this technology to advance shark research? Visit our research page. Finally, proceeds from our online store, where you can find a variety of artist inspired shark apparel, help fund our operations. Thank you in advance for supporting us.