8th July 2019 – Vicky Vásquez, Pacific Shark Research Center

Vicky VasquezVicky Vásquez is a graduate student under the Pacific Shark Research Center (PSRC) where she studies ‘Lost Sharks’; a term used to described lesser known or undiscovered species of cartilaginous fishes. She also serves as the social media manager to the larger entity, Moss Landing Marine Labs. Vicky combines her outreach efforts with her research as a tool for engaging a broader audience. One such example includes the discovery of the first Lanternshark species off the Pacific coast of Central America. In an effort to excite school age children with the discovery, Vicky reached out to her younger cousins as well as a local San Francisco youth group for suggestions on the name of the new shark species. When the Ninja Lanternshark discovery was made public, the news went viral and was even featured in the comic, Sherman’s Lagoon. In addition, the scientific name, Etmopterus benchleyi, is a nod to Peter Benchley’s often unnoticed contributions towards ocean conservation. Another research highlight from Vicky’s work is being apart of first research team to ever tag a Goblin Shark (Mitzsukurina oswtoni). In some of her past sharky fieldwork, Vicky has worked with Great Whites, Soupfins, Sevengills, Hammerheads, Leopard Sharks, Bay Rays, and Thornback Rays. She uses her work with sharks as a lead into to broader issues affecting the world’s oceans such as plastic pollution and overfishing. Some of Vicky’s other science communication work includes several appearances on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week; co-host of the Ocean Science Radio podcast, freelance writer and public speaker. To follow Vicky’s work, check out her Facebook and Instagram pages with the handle @VickyShark or find her right here on Twitter @VickySharky

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