Madeline Marens ’12 knew at the age of 5 that she wanted to be a marine biologist – a dream she never outgrew. She majored in marine biology and achieved her goal, landing a job as an aquarist at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
“I really enjoy the aquarium setting and feel like I can be engaged in shark conservation initiatives there,” she said. “The aquarium serves as an instrumental public agency to inspire and commit to the conservation of the environment. I enjoy the hands-on aspect of it.”
This summer, Marens, a UNCW marine biology graduate student, had the opportunity to extend her conservation efforts. She joined OCEARCH, a recognized global leader in shark research, and other scientists representing 11 institutions in a shark expedition off Wrightsville Beach. Marens gathered biological samples for analysis and conducted ultrasounds from sharks captured during the week-long expedition. Researchers plan to track the sharks to determine their habitats including breeding, gestation and pupping grounds.