The on-campus Shark Lab has been recognized worldwide for its research on "the physiological and behavioral ecology of marine animals." Directed by Christopher Lowe, professor of marine biology, the lab depends on the contributions of student researchers such as research technician Arthur Barraza and biology graduate students Echelle Burns and Jack May.
The name Christopher Lowe, a professor of marine biology at Long Beach State, has become synonymous with the on-campus Shark Lab. For years, Lowe has served as a guiding captain, overseeing the lab’s countless research projects. Yet, the Shark Lab is far from a one man operation. Rather, Lowe’s vision of utilizing the lab as a medium to study the physiological and behavioral ecology of marine animals is made possible by a collective of people — the majority of which are student volunteers. In order to research the population of white sharks living along the Golden State’s coast, the lab recently received a $3.75 million contract from the state of California. Two main objectives of the research project, coined the “White Shark Project,” include gaining a better understanding of the growing shark population as well as enhancing beach safety. Many of the lab’s volunteers, as well as its paid researchers and technicians, are involved. “So, we know that white sharks use our beaches as nurseries — a lot of young white sharks hang out along the beaches and they are in and among swimmers and surfers,” Lowe said. “There’s a concern about the risk of that interaction, but there’s no
A bill intended to create a White Shark Population Monitoring and Beach Safety Program in California passed the state assembly floor Thursday. Formally called Assembly Bill 2191, the program would grant funding to organizations involved in research on white sharks and the promotion of public safety in the state's beaches. The bill states that the types of organizations it would fund consist of public agencies, nonprofit corporations and academic institutions. “AB 2191 is about getting educated and staying safe in our local waters,” Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell said in a press release. “I believe it is important that we understand why we are seeing more sharks along our coast so that we can be prepared and safe at the beach.” The bill will now enter the legislative process of the state senate floor. The deadline for the senate is Aug. 31. If passed, the bill will reach the governor’s desk to be signed, not signed or vetoed by Sept. 30. According to Chris Lowe, professor and director of the Cal State Long Beach shark lab, Southern California has seen an increase of great white shark sightings over the past two decades. Currently, his lab needs for funding for resources to keep
Professor and shark guru Chris Lowe was on the edge of his seat Tuesday when the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee unanimously approved his shark funding bill. Assembly Bill 2191 would allocate funding to the development of a White Shark Population Monitoring and Beach Safety Program. The bill would also award grants to schools, public agencies and nonprofits to further research regarding white sharks. Lowe explained to the committee that Southern California has seen an increase in the number of great white sharks over the past 10 to 15 years. He credited that to the environmental protections that were put into place a few decades ago, but said the lab lacks the tools to monitor them. AB 2191 was written by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell and cleared its first committee in a 15-0 vote. The bill is now headed for the Appropriations Committee. Cal State Long Beach’s Shark Lab Director, Lowe, was called by O’Donnell to give his “scientific rationale” for the $4 million funding proposal, which will cover five years of great white shark research. “We’re one step closer to getting funding, which is exciting,” Lowe said. “They agreed unanimously to move it forward, so hopefully that’s an
Popularized films such as “Jaws” and “Finding Nemo” have long exacerbated the fear of sharks, but on Saturday, Cal State Long Beach and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell’s office collaborated in hosting Shark Day in order to dispel the rumors and raise awareness about these forward-swimming marine animals. As soon as the lecture hall filled, O’Donnell thanked Chris Lowe’s Shark Lab for its research and the numerous lifeguards in the audience for keeping beachgoers safe. Lowe provided information about the presence of juvenile white sharks in Southern California, specifically about their migration patterns and increasing population after years of protection from overfishing. He talked about the use of underwater trackers, which use radio waves to send the longitude and latitude of a shark’s location to the campus Shark Lab. From there, they documented the data. “The purpose is to better understand shark behavior because they are very important to our marine ecosystem,” Lowe said. As much as pop culture has glorified shark attacks, Lowe emphasized that sharks keep marine mammal and fish populations healthy and upkeep other vital habitats. After the presentation, Lowe transitioned into Q&A. One question came from a child who inquired about the white shark’s eating habits. “You know,
A new bill proposes a five-year, $4 million budget to fund research, education and monitoring of white sharks in southern California. Chris Lowe, Cal State Long Beach professor and Shark Lab director, recently contributed to the bill written by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell. This would give marine biologists the power to know where sharks are, why they hang out in certain California hotspots and when they will migrate back to the area each year. Last year, there were nine non-fatal shark attacks along the Pacific coast, according to the Shark Research Committee’s January report. The victims' activities before the attack included kayaking, surfing and paddleboarding. According to Lowe, one key aspect of the bill would provide important training to lifeguards. “As a parent, my priority is the safety of our kids,” O’Donnell said. “This bill is about learning why there are more sharks and how to deal with the increase, so we can keep our kids safe at the beach.” Despite the number of attacks in 2017, some students who engage in watersports don't necessarily believe sharks are predators of humans. Senior computer science major, Taylor Tobin, is the president of the university’s surf team and competes in the National Scholastic
Calling all marine life enthusiasts and beach goers — Shark Day at Cal State Long Beach has got you covered. Chris Lowe, biology professor at Cal State Long Beach and recurring guest star on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, will be presenting shark safety at the Shark Day Long Beach event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Long Beach Marine Safety Chief, Gonzalo Medina, will also be a special presenter at the event, and a brief Q&A will follow the experts’ presentations. This educational event is a collaboration between the university and California Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell. Experts have planned this event to help educate the public on shark safety and awareness as shark season approaches in May. According to a January report from the Shark Research Committee, there were nine non-fatal shark attacks along the Pacific Coast in 2017 with the victims engaging in activities such as kayaking and surfing. “The goal [of this event] is to provide the local public with an update about what we know about white sharks, what we don’t know, and how we can use new technology and techniques to figure out what we don’t know,” said Lowe, director of the Shark Lab. Attendees
Members of the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab are eager to test the waters in the newest addition to their collection of aquatic vessels. The Shark Lab, headed by Director of the CSULB Shark Lab Chris Lowe, recently received donations from two local shark enthusiasts which were used to purchase a new surveying vessel. The vessel was dubbed “Mustelus,” the genus name for the grey smooth-hound shark. “We like to name our boats after species that we’re interested in studying,” Lowe said. “This boat is mainly going to be studying baby white sharks and that the genus of that name was already taken, so we had to come up with a new name.” One of the donations was used to purchase a Yamaha outboard motor, while the other covered the cost of the boat, a Boston Whaler. “Mustelus” is the fourth boat that has been offered as a donation to the Shark Lab, with its predecessors being sold once they no longer meet the needs of the lab. The Boston Whaler, due to being designed completely out of foam, is unsinkable and cost efficient. However, it is not very fast. “Most universities don’t have these kinds of resources,”