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Shark Dissection in the Streets of Casablanca

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Communications Coordinator
Aug 12, 2013


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Education, Science, Student Life, Sustainability

Shark Dissection in the Streets of Casablanca

Professor Dan Abel loves fish markets. But, whereas most of us walk through the markets taking in the sights and smells, and maybe looking to purchase a quick bite, Professor Abel is on the hunt for sharks. Abel is a marine biology professor aboard the MV Explorer and professed shark enthusiast. Knowing the potential for shark purchases in the Casablanca Fish Market, Abel emailed his class and set a time to head into the market as a group. When they successfully found a juvenile Mako, he bought it, pulled out a jackknife, and got down to business.

A fisherman presents a juvenile male Shortfin Mako shark, identified by its distinct metallic blue and white colors.
Professor Dan Abel speaks to a group of students, staff, and other professors about the shark inside the Casablanca fish market where he purchased it.
After leaving the market, Professor Abel lays out a plastic sheets on the curb and prepares to dissect the animal.
Shark enthusiasts aboard the ship have brought their books and eagerly read about the shark as Professor Able prepares for the dissection.
As the presentation continues, the crowd grows, with shipkids and Moroccan men coming to see what’s happening.
Professor Abel cuts the shark open to reveal a fully distended stomach, a sign that the shark has recently fed.
Professor Abel identifies the various body parts and their functions for the audience, which is increasingly composed of curious Moroccan men.
Professor Abel continues his explanation of the shark’s anatomy. After the dissection was completed, the shark was given to a local Moroccan man.
With its dangerously sharp teeth, the Shortfin Mako preys upon dolphins, swordfish, and even other sharks, though this juvenile was after much smaller prey.

Want more sharks? Check out this post from Summer 2012: http://www.semesteratsea.org/2012/08/13/shark-dan-abel-takes-the-insides-out-on-the-streets-of-morocco/

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