If you really dig sharks — and Doreen McVeigh clearly does — Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” is a great opportunity to show them some love. The 2009 Sweet Briar graduate has seized the occasion to share five “fin-tastic facts about sharks” in an article appearing in International Business Times this week.
McVeigh knows of what she speaks. She recently completed her Ph.D. in marine ecology and conservation at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She now lives in the United Kingdom, where she teaches at The King’s School in Canterbury (which explains the story’s references to “crisp packets” and “programmes”).
McVeigh, who earned a master’s in environmental biology at Hood College between Sweet Briar and N.C. State, focused her dissertation on deep-sea organisms in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic along the U.S. East Coast. Her research included several dives in the manned submarine DSV Alvin — some 2 miles deep in the ocean.
Many shark species are among the creatures who inhabit these inky-dark depths. They are “beautiful and often-misunderstood,” she writes in the IBT piece. While “Shark Week” gets millions of people talking about them, it frustrates the marine scientist in her to see programs that sensationalize shark attacks on humans. Sharks should be afraid of humans, not the other way around, she argues.
“ ‘Shark Week’ has the power to change the perception and the dialogue surrounding sharks, by helping viewers understand these magnificent animals and ways conservation can protect threatened and endangered species,” McVeigh writes.
So, she offers five facts — including their capacity for self-healing and spectacularly long lifespans — to endear readers to “one of Earth’s most successful group of predators.”
Check them out here: “5 incredible facts about sharks — from bioluminescence to asexual reproduction.”