Annaliese Everett first came to HPA, eager to learn more about marine biology. She participated in the HPA turtle tagging program, got involved with Reef Teach in Puako, and is starting a club aimed at raising awareness and money to protect our ocean ecosystem. However, Annaliese's interests in marine biology go beyond HPA. For the past two summers she has traveled to Fiji and the Caribbean to participate in Broadreach's marine biology programs.

The summer before her junior year, Annaliese traveled to the Caribbean where she joined 15 other students to live and learn on a marine catamaran for two weeks. During this trip, she got multiple SCUBA certifications, learned the basics of Marine Biology, and participated in the REEF fish survey project, an ongoing project which involved tallying the number and types of fish they encountered while diving.

During her first trip with Broadreach, Annaliese explained that the most valuable thing that she gained was more self-awareness about how her actions can affect ocean. Since returning, she has “been more aware of the type of fish I eat, and what I choose to eat and where it’s from”. Even when eating out, Annaliese says she always checks to make sure that she is choosing to eat seafood sustainably, sometimes even chatting with the chef about where they are buying their fish, and telling them about some of the things she learned during her trip.

Equipped with her SCUBA certification, this past summer, Annaliese traveled to Fiji for four weeks. She and a group of high school students stayed on the island of Benga, and participated in 20 dives with five different types of sharks. After getting acclimated with diving with these powerful predators, Annaliese started her own research paper about their feeding habits of bull sharks. She observed that bull sharks have a feeding hierarchy, dictating how the sharks approach their food. For Annaliese being able to come up with her own research question, and collect her data first hand was the most exciting part of the trip, and confirmed her desires to become a marine biologist.

Despite having to share the waters with 15 foot bull, nurse, white black and silver tip reef sharks, Annaliese said that she never felt unsafe. “There’s just so much we can’t fathom at this point so even if something does seems scary like sharks or who knows what, it can turn out to be a lot more interesting than one might think”. For Annaliese this trip is just the start of her study of sharks since that is what she wants to focus on as a marine biologist. “People hear ‘shark’ and they want to get out of the water, instead of actually thinking ‘is this shark going for me, or is it going for food below me’”. Now, she wants to learn more about this powerful and misunderstood apex predator.

Photos supplied by Annaliese Everett '17.