Student Spotlight: Sarah Bauman

Abby McHenry

Junior Sarah Bauman traveled to Bimini in the Bahamas over fall break and researched sharks and other ocean species at the Bimini Biological Field Station.

Bauman is passionate about the environment, and loves studying marine life. She said students in her marine biology class had taken the trip before her and highly recommended it.

Bauman swam with sharks, including Lemon, Nurse, Tiger, Carribean Reef and Black Tip Sharks. She also saw Southern and Eagle Rays, and fish like Tangs, Queen Triggerfish and Rock Beauties.

Bauman said the group took a class beforehand to learn about the species they would be seeing. She said when the group went snorkeling they were able to identify the fish.

Bauman said she snorkeled with sharks in the open ocean and once the boat was anchored, the crew put out a line behind the boat. 

“Once everyone was on the line [the boat crew] started baiting the water to get the sharks to come,” Bauman said. “Even before they did that, there were a lot of sharks there. Some of them came pretty close to us.”

Bauman was not scared of sharks because most of the species were not aggressive. She said the species that are labeled as “aggressive” do not seem aggressive in her opinion. 

According to Bauman, sharks do not typically harm people. If they do, it is because they mistake a human for a seal or some other thing they typically eat.

Bauman said she loved being able to live in a field station for the week and see what people who work there do from day-to-day. Bauman said she isn’t sure if she would want to do field work long term, but would enjoy experiencing it for a little while. 

Bauman said the people at the field station all live and eat every meal together. They are out in the sun almost the whole day, sometimes up to 10 hours a day.

Bauman’s favorite part of the trip was going to Honeymoon Island and seeing rays. 

“This was the first time I had ever seen them in the wild,” Bauman said. “They would cuddle with our legs and let us pet them. It was so cool to be able to do that in their actual, natural environment.”

For questions about the Bimni trip, contact Dr. Gabe Langford glangford@flsouthern.edu.

 

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