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FIU scientists featured in SharkFest 2022 shows on National Geographic
Sara Casareto photographs a shark underwater. (National Geographic/Mike Heithaus)

FIU scientists featured in SharkFest 2022 shows on National Geographic

Researchers and students will appear in three shows and three series episodes

June 29, 2022 at 9:38am

FIU shark scientists will appear in three original shows and three new series episodes of National Geographic’s SharkFest 2022. They will go in search of giant great hammerhead sharks, investigate why sharks are attacking boats, explore battles between crocodiles and sharks, and more.

FIU researchers and students featured are:

  • Mike Heithaus, executive dean of FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education, professor of biological sciencesand marine ecologist
  • Yannis Papastamatiou, FIU associate professor and marine biologist
  • Demian Chapman, FIU adjunct professor and director of Sharks & Rays Conservation Research at Mote Marine Laboratory
  • Sara Casareto, biological sciences Ph.D. candidate
  • Candace Fields, biological sciences Ph.D. student
  • Laura Garcia Barcia, biological sciences Ph.D. candidate 
  • Erin Spencer, biological sciences Ph.D. candidate 

SharkFest 2022 kicks off the week of July 10. Shows and episodes with FIU shark scientists include: 

Episode 803: Space Coast Scare
Episode 804: Paradise in Peril
Premieres Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. on National Geographic

Shark attacks seem to be on the rise in North America and beyond. Scientists, including Heithaus, investigate first-hand accounts, uncovering clues and details that will unravel the mystery behind the shark attack spike. Heithaus will appear in the episode “Space Coast Scare” of this six-episode series. Papastamatiou will appear in the episode "Paradise in Peril."

Thursday, July 14 at 7 p.m. on National Geographic
Thursday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m. on Nat Geo WILD

From mysterious severed heads and ambush attacks to mob hunts and stand-offs — Heithaus leads a team who will look at what happens when two of the deadliest predators on the planet go head-to-head.

PLANET SHARK (Three-Episode Series)
Premieres Saturday, July 16 at 8 p.m. on National Geographic

Scientists, including Heithaus and Papastamatiou, are unlocking the secrets of sharks. Featuring newly discovered species, locations and behavior, Planet Shark combines stunning 4K archive footage with original content from the world’s leading shark scientists to take a timely and in-depth look at the greatest predator on Earth.

Sunday, July 17 at 8 p.m. on National Geographic
Saturday, July 23 at 9 p.m. on Disney XD
Friday, Aug. 5 at 9 p.m. on Nat Geo WILD

Viral videos abound of great whites and other sharks attacking boats. Is this simply a case of more people having cameras to video the behavior, or is something else happening? Heithaus and Casareto set out to investigate what’s causing this clash between sharks and boats.

Monday, July 18 at 10 p.m. on National Geographic
Sunday, July 24 at 9 p.m. on Disney XD
Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 10 p.m. on Nat Geo WILD

Reports of giant great hammerhead sharks, up to twenty feet in length, have put the actual size potential of this species into question. A team of FIU scientists — including Papastamatiou, Chapman, Fields and Spencer — will go on an expedition off the Florida coast to try and find the world’s biggest hammerhead.

SHARK ATTACK FILES (Eight-Episode Series)
Episode 208: Unusual Suspects
Thursday, July 21 at 9 p.m. on National Geographic

Scientists use cutting-edge technology to investigate startling new theories about the world’s most dramatic shark attacks. Why are sharks drawn to shipwrecks? Are sharks entering urban environments? Are pregnant sharks more likely to kill? Can humans outsmart sharks? Why do sharks prefer to attack men? New footage, survivor accounts and hands-on testing drive us toward stunning conclusions. Papastamatiou will appear in episode “Unusual Suspects” in this eight-episode series.