FantaSEA Football Furor Takes Over UMiami Rosenstiel School

It has been a long grueling season for you Fantasy Football owners. The roller coaster ride of emotions has been full with moments of joy, confusion (anyone owning C.J. Spiller or Jamaal Charles) and bewilderment (Seahawks vs. Packers).  Now it is playoff time – Winners move on, losers pack their bags and empty their wallets. But this had us thinking. What would the ultimate Fantasy Football roster look like? And what if this hypothetical roster was composed of sea life? So, in spirit of Fantasy Football playoffs, here is our Pro Bowl roster. Good luck!

OctopusQuarterback Octopus: It makes sense to put a cephalopod with 8 arms behind center. Honestly, who else would you want as your field general? Not to mention, the Octopus is highly intelligent and capable of making those crucial decisions. The Octopus is also able to camouflage himself as a defensive mechanism.

Running baTiger SharkckTiger Shark: This is our top point getter – think Arian Foster. This top predator is going to rack up tons of points and eat everything in sight. Sharks are the police of the ocean. If it’s 4th and goal, you are handing it off to the Tiger Shark.

MahiRunning backMahi-Mahi Flashy, quick, and strong.  Mahi grow quickly and are always ready for a good fight.  Their acrobatic moves and ability to change color make them a top pick for any good fantasy team.Otter

Wide Receiver Sea Otter: Think Julio Jones here. The sea otter is one of the only marine animals that can use his hands, is quick and reliable. The otter is very popular and is going to give you lots of points on a weekly basis.

SailfishWide ReceiverSailfish: Every team needs a player like AJ Green. Fast, explosive and has a deep threat potential. The Sailfish is arguably the fastest and most aggressive fish out there, and eats smaller fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Chalk up 6, because the Sailfish is going deep!

Humpback Whale by Kyra Hartog

Tight End Humpback Whale: Does Rob Gronkowski ring a bell? Much like Gronk, the Humpback Whale is multi-talented. It can block, dive, breach, swim long distances or stay in the same area (Hawaii breeding grounds). The Humpback Whale is our go-to passing option in the red zone.

KickeDolphinr – Dolphin: Can you think of a better option here? The Rosenstiel School is in Miami, we have the Dolphins, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reference Ray Finkle in a blog post. Ace Ventura aside, the Dolphin is a highly charismatic mega fauna, and can score you lots of points if need be. Don’t worry, pressure doesn’t get to ol’ Snowflake during that last second 50 yard field goal for the win.

TunaDefenseSchool of Blue Fin Tuna: The Chicago Bears defense has had a great fantasy season. Much like the Bears, the Bluefin Tuna are big, fast and it’s hard not to appreciate them. You can’t go wrong with the Bluefin Tuna.


Check out our FantaSEA team in action!

So what sea creatures would YOU have on your FantaSEA team?  Think you can beat us?  Write a comment below and let us know who you would have picked and why?

Brought to you by Andrew DeChellis & Laura Bracken; Drawings by Kyra Hartog; Animation by Lizzie Bracken. Special thanks to Austin Gallagher and Peter Chaibongsai for their invaluable assistance.


RJD Satellite Tags Sharks at Tiger Beach

Last month, members of the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation team joined Jim Abernethy aboard the Shearwater for a week of shark research and diving. The RJD research team included myself, Dr. Hammerschlag, Captain Curt Slonim, and Fiona Graham. Visiting researcher Dr. Duncan Irschick from UMass Amherst, and Marco Flagg of Desert Star Systems also joined us for a chance to see how RJD performs our research and to interact with some awe-inspiring animals, as did a group of citizen scientists. The goal of this expedition was to gather biological samples and apply satellite tags to as many Tiger Sharks as possible, while still making sure the research was carried out in a way that did not stress the sharks.

Along with the blood, muscle, and fin samples that we usually take on our research subjects, we also took a series of morphometric measurements for Dr. Irschick’s research. He will be using these measurements to look at, among many things, how the shark’s related to the way they move. We also used an ultrasound machine on each female Tiger shark to determine if the sharks in the area are pregnant. On the first day of research, the team satellite tagged the largest Tiger Shark of the trip, a 305 cm (9.5 foot) female. We were also able to place dart tags and collect data on a few lemon and Caribbean reef sharks as well. On the second day of research, we satellite tagged and sampled four tiger sharks including one small male. This was surprising, as most of the Tiger sharks seen at Tiger Beach are females. On our third and last day of research, we satellite tagged one more female Tiger shark.

After 3 days of research, it was time to go scuba diving with these beautiful animals. Jim Abernethy and his crew have been diving in the waters of Tiger Beach for years and no operation knows the sharks that frequent the area better. After a safety briefing on the proper way to dive with sharks, we made our way into the water and onto a beautiful reef. There were Caribbean reef sharks swimming all around us, but the real star of the dive was a charismatic goliath grouper named Max. Max is known to frequent this reef and is very friendly – he even let me scratch under his chin! On my second dive on the reef, I got a quick glimpse of a large Tiger shark as soon as I got in the water, but it (probably a she) left and the rest of the dive was filled with more Caribbean Reefs and some time with Max.

On the last day of the trip, the group was treated with a visit from Emma. Emma is a 14-ft Tiger shark who frequents the area. Jim Abernethy has interacted with her on countless dives over the past 8 years. While Emma has safely interacted with SCUBA divers many times, it is important to remember that she is still an apex predator who is curious of what these strange divers are doing around her. I had a close encounter with Emma myself as she became very curious of both my camera and me. It was truly an amazing experience to get so close to so many beautiful sharks of so many different species. Not only was the experience amazing, but the team also collected valuable data on some of the most important predators in Bahamian waters. The satellite tags are transmitting and everyone will be able to see where these sharks are going.

If you would like to join Dr. Hammerschlag on a future Bahamas expedition, please contact him. The next trip to Tiger Beach is 10/17/13-10/23/13. The RJ Dunlap Team would love to have you on a future research expedition!

Kyra Hartog
R.J. Dunlap Intern
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Key Biscayne Local Wins 2012 Underwater Photography Contest

Ximena Olds, local Key Biscayne resident, has been named “Best Overall” winner of our 2012 Underwater Photography Contest. Olds captured an orange headshield sea slug with a beautiful green seagrass background in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Best Overall" winner - headshield sea slug. Photo by Ximena Olds.

This year’s newest category was the online “Fan Favorite,” where the winner was determined by an online voting poll. The winner was Todd Aki, receiving nearly half of the 1,221 online votes, capturing a very colorful jellyfish.

Fan Favorite winner Todd Aki captured 1,221 online votes for this Jellyfish.

“Best Student Entry” went to Kyra Hartog for her beautiful portrait of a Whale Shark. Click here to see the rest of the 2012 winners. What image is your favorite? Comment below.

Best Student Entry is Kyra Hartog for this Whale Shark.

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