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What do baby sharks do? New College and a Palmetto conservation group to find out

New College of Florida has received a shark research grant that focuses on population trends for shark species not currently included in long-term monitoring efforts, a news release said.

Specifically, juvenile — or baby — sharks of the blacktip, blacknose, bull and great hammerhead species in lower Tampa Bay.

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Restore America’s Estuaries awarded the $165,111 grant to fund Dr. Jayne Gardiner’s shark research. She’s the Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center director and associate biology professor at New College.

“Juvenile sharks are a critical component of a healthy Tampa Bay ecosystem, but they’ve historically been overlooked in many monitoring programs,” Gardiner said, in the news release. “Young sharks of several species have been documented in lower Tampa Bay, and our research will help us better understand the bay’s potential role as a nursery ground.”

Gardiner is using acoustic transmitters to discover the sharks’ nursery areas and study their habitat use, the news release said. According to Tampa Bay Business Journal, that can “measure the impact of climate change and coastal development in areas where the sharks reside.”