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FIU scientists to be featured during National Geographic's SharkFest 2024
Shark Beach with Anthony Mackie

FIU scientists to be featured during National Geographic's SharkFest 2024

June 27, 2024 at 9:32am

FIU shark scientists will appear in multiple shows during National Geographic’s SharkFest 2024 including Shark Beach with Anthony Mackie and Shark vs. Ross Edgley. They will go in search of the ocean’s top predators, investigate when and why sharks attack and more.

FIU researchers, students and alumni featured include:

  • Mike Heithaus, executive dean of FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education, professor of biological sciences and marine ecologist
  • Yannis Papastamatiou, FIU associate professor of biological sciences and marine biologist
  • Erin Spencer, recent Ph.D. graduate and biologist who studied movement and behavior of great hammerhead sharks and associated prey while at FIU
  • Maurits van Zinnicq Bergmann, Ph.D. graduate and biologist who studied predator behavioral interactions and their impact on the structure of marine communities while studying at FIU
  • Candace Fields, biological sciences Ph.D. candidate studying the population dynamics and geographic population structure of large predators 
  • Sara Casareto, biological science Ph.D. student focused on the behavioral ecology of sharks

SharkFest 2024, a four-week long event, kicks off June 30 at 9 p.m. on National Geographic and streaming on HULU and Disney+ starting July 1. A SharkFest collection page is also available on the Nat Geo TV App and ABC App with episodes from previous years of SharkFest including shows that also feature FIU scientists.

New shows and episodes for 2024 with FIU shark scientists include: 

National Geographic – Premieres Sunday, June 30 at 9 p.m.
Nat Geo WILD – Friday, August 2 at 9 p.m.
Disney+ and HULU – currently streaming

The show follows the Marvel star in his hometown of New Orleans, where he grew up boating and fishing, and still fishes its waters to this day. In this hour-long special, Mackie investigates a fishing phenomenon called depredation, in which a shark preys upon a fisherman's catch and consumes it before it can be retrieved. After an increase in shark sightings in his hometown, Mackie sets out to learn more from local Louisiana fishing communities affected as well as FIU researcher Yannis Papastamatiou and his team. Mackie discovers how these human-shark encounters may be pointing to larger environmental issues on the shores of Louisiana and through the Gulf of Mexico.

National Geographic – Premieres Sunday, June 30 at 10 p.m.
Nat Geo WILD – Saturday, August 3 at 9 p.m.
Disney+ and HULU – currently streaming

Ultra-athlete and shark advocate Ross Edgley goes head-to-head against four of the ocean's most formidable sharks. He's won the world record for the world's longest assisted stage sea swim of nearly 1,800 miles but now Ross is pushing himself even further and testing his speed, strength, endurance, and digestive system, with an assist from FIU's Mike Heithaus. In four jaw-dropping shark challenges, Ross attempts a G-force turn like a hammerhead, a polaris jump out the water like a white shark, to out swim the mako — the world's fastest shark — and finally, he tries to feast like a tiger shark.


WHEN SHARKS ATTACK 360 (Eight-episode Series)
National Geographic – Premieres Monday, July 1 at 10 p.m., with new episodes each night
Nat Geo WILD – Thursday, August 1 at 5 p.m.
Disney+ and HULU – currently streaming

Dive into the world of shark bites and investigate why they happen. An international team of experts, including Heithaus and Papstamatiou, hunts for clues, using evidence and personal accounts to unravel the mysteries behind shark behavior. Cutting-edge VFX technology is used in the 360-shark lab to analyze data and understand, in forensic detail, the reasons behind shark attacks.

All times listed are eastern standard time.