FIU shark expert to close out Zoo Miami’s Crittercam exhibit

Zoo Miami is teaming up with FIU marine scientist Mike Heithaus to give one last peek at the world through the eyes of a predator.

To close out the zoo’s popular “National Geographic Crittercam: The World Through Animal Eyes” exhibit, Heithaus will give a talk Friday, July 26, featuring stories from his travels across the world. He will discuss his discovery of how tiger sharks influence habitat-use and the behaviors of their prey, including sea turtles, dugongs and bottlenose dolphins.

Mike Heithaus tags a guitar fish in Shark Bay, Australia.

Mike Heithaus (right) tags a guitar fish in Shark Bay, Australia.

“I’m excited to share my experiences and stories from research projects around the world,” said Heithaus who also serves as executive director of FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society in the College of Arts & Sciences. “I’ve had the privilege to work in amazing places, with fantastic animals and great scientists doing important work. Sharing some of these adventures will hopefully entertain and inspire people who come out.”

The 6,000 square-foot traveling Crittercam exhibit, which features interactive displays and research footage from Crittercam deployments on seals, sea lions, sharks, sea turtles, whales, penguins, bears and lions, is on display at Zoo Miami through Sunday, July 28. Crittercam is a video- and data-gathering tool safely worn by wild animals, offering researchers insight into animal behavior and conservancy. Heithaus used Crittercam for his own tiger shark research and also helps other scientists deploy the technology. He has completed more than 100 successful Crittercam deployments on tiger, nurse, and hammerhead sharks; leatherback, green, and loggerhead sea turtles; humpback, bowhead, pilot, false killer, and killer whales; gray and Hawaiian monk seals; lions and hyenas; and other species. Heithaus also served as a research fellow with National Geographic’s Remote Imaging Program and as the host of the “Crittercam Chronicles” television series from 2002-2003.

The event is part of the Zoo FIU lecture series, a series of talks by university researchers and zoo staff about the conservation and care of a variety of species, including sharks, fish, cheetahs, amphibians, bats, desert antelopes and dogs. Friday’s event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Zoo Miami. It is free and open to the public.


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