Neil Hammerschlag, a shark researcher and professor at the University of Miami, has been studying sharks for almost two decades. With nearly 20% of all shark species facing extinction, conservation efforts are critically important. Neil goes on countless tagging expeditions to capture and release sharks after gathering important data. By attaching these electronic acoustic tags, researchers can track shark movements and identify where they feed and give birth. This data is critical in helping policymakers identify conservation areas.

He frequently brings elementary and high school students on these expeditions to teach them about shark research and inspire them to get involved in STEM and environmental conservation.

What are your thoughts on the conservation efforts of this team of shark researchers? How do you think this experience participating in shark research would impact students? How do you think events like Shark Week impact conservation efforts? Join the discussion on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion:

@02:38 Sara Hardman: This group wants to inspire the next generation of scientists who also have an environmental ethic. This work is incredibly important as the effects of climate change are becoming dangerously significant.

@04:52 Melanie Hering: I'm always glad when an animal underdog is given good publicity, which is why I think Shark Week is so great! However, though lots of people are scared of sharks, these fish still fall under the category of charismatic megafauna; what we really need is something like Beetle Week, or just plain old Insect Week. It's the tens of thousands of species of insects keeping nature in check that often go completely ignored in talks with the public about conservation efforts.