National Geographic’s SharkFest 2020 debuts Sunday, July 19 with five shows starring FIU experts. This year, FIU’s leading shark experts will unravel some of the most complex mysteries about shark behavior — from their really complicated relationship with dolphins to why they love hanging around volcanos and more.
College of Arts, Sciences & Education researchers appearing in shows this year are Dean Mike Heithaus, marine biologist and assistant professor Yannis Papastamatiou, marine ecologist and research specialist Kirk Gastrich and Heithaus Lab Ph.D. student Frances Farabaugh.
They will host a special Facebook Live event at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 21 to talk sharks, behind-the-scenes moments and the science behind the shows. Stephen Kajiura, a shark biologist from Florida Atlantic University who appears in Sharkcano, will also join the panel. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Phil Fairclough will moderate the Facebook Live event.
SharkFest shows featuring the FIU shark team are:
Sharks v. Dolphins: Blood Battle
10 p.m., Monday, July 20 on National Geographic Channel
7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 9 on Nat Geo WILD
Sharks and dolphins have shared the ocean for a long time. But that doesn’t mean they always share it nicely. Farabaugh and Gastrich head to Shark Bay, Australia — where Heithaus led the most detailed study of the ecological role of sharks in the world — to unlock the secrets of the relationship between sharks and dolphins.
10 p.m., Tuesday, July 21 on National Geographic Channel
7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 12 on Nat Geo WILD
Across the world, sharks congregate around volcanoes and volcanic islands. Heithaus will crisscross the globe to uncover the mystery of why sharks are so attracted to these hotspots.
50 Shades of Sharks
10 p.m., Friday, July 24, on National Geographic Channel
10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9 on Nat Geo WILD
Sharks have long been considered calculating and vicious apex predators of the ocean, but new research allows for a glimpse of some of their most intimate and seldom-seen behaviors. Papastamatiou and others reveal facets of sharks that are rarely chronicled; they’re fragile, delicate, ingenious, collaborative and even clumsy. This full immersion into their private lives shows them hunting, resting, cleaning and reproducing; these revelations might forever change the way we look at sharks.
Raging Bull Shark
8 p.m., Sunday, July 26 on National Geographic Channel
7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 13 on Nat Geo WILD
As the world’s waters warm, the bull shark’s territory is spreading. Known to be aggressive, bull sharks aren’t afraid to go head to head with great white or tiger sharks. A team of experts, including Heithaus, will explore what makes this species such an impressive predator.
Sharks of the Bermuda Triangle
10 p.m., Monday, July 27 on National Geographic Channel
6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 13 on Nat Geo WILD
The Bermuda Triangle has more than 500,000 square miles of rumored mysteries. In reality, its greatest wonder may be something far more incredible — sharks. Papastamatiou offers insights into tiger sharks as marine biologist Austin Gallagher goes in search of the breeding grounds of tiger sharks in the mysterious hotspot.