Originally from North Carolina, Chelsea Black received her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington in 2016. Chelsea knew she wanted to be a marine biologist from a young age, but her interest in shark research was not sparked until studying abroad in Fiji where she encountered multiple bull sharks at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve while diving. After graduating, she traveled to South Africa to intern under researchers studying great white shark populations in Mosselbaai. Her time in South Africa only solidified her desire to work with sharks and she was determined to get back into the academic world of shark research.
Chelsea is currently a Master of Science student with the University of Miami Shark Research and Conservation Program (SRC) where she studies shark immunology under Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and Dr. Liza Merly. Her research is investigating the microbiome of three shark species commonly found in Miami, including blacktip, bull, and tiger sharks. Little is known about the normal microbiome of sharks within their natural environment as most microbiological research has been performed on captive species. What is known, however, is that sharks can harbor potentially debilitating bacteria species without a significant threat to their health, making Chelsea’s research an interesting topic for exploration.
Chelsea is also the social media manager for SRC, keeping the public up to date about the lab’s research and answering questions over various platforms. She enjoys changing the negative perception people often have of sharks and is an advocate for turning fear into fascination.
Get your sea legs ready to join Chelsea on a shark expedition in hopes to swab some sharks and learn more about the microbiome of the sharks on Saba! Are our sharks healthy? How do they fight off disease? Let's get answers to some of these sharkey questions!
We will be updating our calendar with activity dates and times as we continue to coordinate our event. Stay tuned!