Sweet Briar Welcomes Steve, the Baby Shark

| February 13, 2008

Associate professor of biology John Morrissey has proudly announced the arrival of the first shark born at Sweet Briar College on Friday, Feb. 8, 2008.

It’s a boy! The first shark born at Sweet Briar is named Steve.

“Steve” hatched from one of several egg cases that Morrissey brought to campus with his research colony of chain catsharks. In an e-mailed notification of the event, Morrissey said he named the shark after the College’s physical plant director.

“The little boy, named ‘Steve’ in recognition of Steve Bailey’s conscientious efforts to create the perfect shark nursery here in Guion (thanks again, Steve!), was 3.5 grams in weight and 10.5 cm in total length,” Morrissey wrote.

Those numbers make the youngster a “bruiser,” Morrissey said, explaining that most babies are 2.8 to 3.0 grams and 9 to 10 centimeters at birth.

In the wild, catsharks live in the deep sea, where it’s cold. Part of creating a perfect nursery meant installing a dedicated air conditioning system in the aquarium room to help maintain the water temperatures at 50 degrees.

Sweet Briar’s physical plant crew also more than doubled the electrical power to the room to run the pumps, sterilizers, protein skimmers and filters needed to keep the sharks healthy.

“[Bailey] was the ‘go to’ guy who made it all happen,” Morrissey said. “In truth, I’m indebted to many employees of the [physical] plant department for a job well done.”

Jennifer McManamay

Category: Biology