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Picture above: SoMAS MCP Students Jennifer Lopez (left) and Erika Lanfranchi (right).

Hello, my name is Erika Lanfranchi I am currently a Marine Conservation and Policy graduate student.

My love for the ocean started at a young age, growing up in Brooklyn N.Y. I loved going to Coney Island beach and visiting the New York Aquarium. Not being exposed to marine biology classes in my high school I decided to volunteer for the New York Aquarium to broaden my knowledge. My time as an education docent there pushed me to pursue a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy at Monmouth University. Upon completion of my degree, I knew I wanted to continue my research and spread knowledge of the importance of marine environments and the animals living in them. Stony Brook’s MCP program was the perfect fit to help me find my niche in this field.

The photo above was taken at Cape Eleuthera Institute during a two-week field research class in Eleuthera, The Bahamas with SoMAS where we conducted shark research. The goal of this class was to examine the foraging dynamics of Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) through stable isotope analysis. This is an ongoing collaborative project between SoMAS Ph.D. student Oliver Shipley, professor Michael Frisk, and Dr. Gregory Henkes from the School of Earth and Space Sciences. We used scientific longlines to capture and obtain muscle, fin, teeth, and blood samples from 17 sharks. With this information, we will have a better understanding of their ecological role and the key habitats supporting their biomass, which will benefit conservation efforts in the future.

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