Florida Keys Shark Research

We conduct research at Marine Lab to determine the distribution and abundance of sharks, skates and rays in the Northern Florida Keys.

Ocean First Institute conducts shark research at Marine Lab in the Florida Keys.

Our goal is to assess the distribution and abundance of elasmobranch species (sharks, skates, rays) in the Northern Florida Keys, using two main non-invasive methodologies: Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS) and Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling.

BRUVS are devices primarily consisting of cameras, bait and a bait box and a frame to hold it all together. This equipment is used to attract species in the area with the bait and capture footage of them. BRUVS can often help find local species, identify their diversity and abundances, and observe behavior, among other things.


eDNA sampling is done by collecting water, pumping it through a filter, and isolating the DNA found within the sample. This helps determine the presence and absence of certain species as well as possibly the genetic diversity of species in an area. It is made possible because organisms shed DNA into the environment throughout their lives.