Sharks are one of the most feared and misunderstood predators on earth. Over 400 million years of evolution a diverse group of species has emerged to become integral part of ocean ecosystems, and they are declining in numbers.
A new programme and podcast on OAR FM Dunedin seeks to explore the lives of these wonderful animals and to investigate the deep ocean, coral reef and estuary habitats they occupy.
Murky Waters is hosted by Australian shark scientist and self-described “everyday water-man” Michael Heldsinger, who is completing a Masters in Marine Science at University of Otago.
The aim of his research is to see whether marine reserves provide benefits for shark species in New Zealand. He using stereo-BRUVs (baited remote underwater stereo-video systems) in his research throughout Fiordland and Stewart Island.
Mr Heldsinger’s overarching passion in shark science is to understand the mechanisms behind human-shark interactions to help develop harmonious mitigation strategies.
He says he is on “an odyssey” to effectively research and communicate the plight of shark populations and their conservation with a focus on solutions, such as protected areas.
“A podcast and radio show is the perfect way to reach people. I’m surrounded by some really good shark scientists, people who are really passionate, so I’m able to talk to them about their research and help get the science out into the community.”
Do sharks sleep? What is their strongest sense? How do they reproduce? What’s their history? Do they have good eyesight? These questions and more are answered in an interview with Dr Sammy Andrzejaczek, a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University in California.
Another episode features a conversation with beach lifeguard and marine ecologist Kye Adams, who invented a shark blimp as a way of monitoring sharks to increase beach safety, while future shows will explore citizen science initiatives and fisheries practices.
Murky Waters airs every second Thursday at 3pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.