JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A variety of sharks call our coastal waters home. University of North Florida Assistant Professor Dr. James Gelsleicheter often studies these sharks in a survey.
"So here at UNF, we have been monitoring population of sharks off of Jacksonville and the surrounding area pretty much since 2009," Gelsleicheter says. "We regularly catch 12 different species of sharks within our survey."
The survey runs mainly in the summer months. There are more species within the region, but Gelsleicheter and his team do not use gear that would catch them.
Through the survey, fisheries and diver reports, Gelsleicheter knows the different species known to our area.
"But, most of the sharks we find are the Atlantic Sharp Nose Shark, Black Tip Shark, Bonnet Head, a form of Hammerhead, and the Sandbar as well is a very common species," Gelsleicheter said. "Those are probably the four most abundant in our survey"
Other species common in the coastal waters include bull, lemon and tiger sharks. Along with these species, the First Coast often gets visitors from other types of sharks and one visited us last winter.
"A couple of the other species are the smooth hound, the rays are very common in our area and of course we always hear about the white shark," said Gelsleicheter. "The white shark was a seasonal visitor here to Florida and one that pretty consistently comes from the colder waters to spend the portion of the winter off of our coast."
It is unclear how often or why the sharks visit our area. Gelsleicheter and his team is currently researching that information. Some of the information gathered from the study is available, but the full study will be available to the public in the upcoming months.