The role of mangroves as vital nursery habitat for fish is nowhere more evident than in the tiny island of Bimini, off the coast of Florida. Female lemon sharks come to the sheltered lagoon waters to give birth, and the pups live amongst the tangled roots of mangroves, safe from the attention of predators, until they are about three feet long and have a better chance of survival in the open sea. A long-term research program in Bimini is revealing just how important mangroves are in the lives of these sharks, and I turned up right in the middle of the annual population census. This gave me the chance to see how the researchers—a happy band of shark-mad volunteers—go about their work. . . Read more »
Shark census volunteer Hollie Neibert with a lemon shark she has just removed from the net. Photo by Kennedy Warne.
Kennedy Warne co-founded New Zealand Geographic magazine in 1988, and served as the magazine’s editor until 2004, when he relinquished the editorship in order to pursue his own writing and photography. He has written for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Canadian Geographic, GEO and various travel publications, and continues to contribute regularly to New Zealand Geographic. He writes mostly about natural history subjects, and specializes in underwater assignments. His work for National Geographic has taken him from the sea ice of the Gulf of St Lawrence to the mangrove swamps of Bangladesh; from the rainforests of Fiordland to the kelp forests of Cape Town. His book Roads Less Travelled: Twenty Years of Exploration with New Zealand Geographic is published by Penguin (NZ) in September 2008. He lives in Auckland.