The Dorsal Fin – Shark News

Domeier no longer using tagging practice seen on “Shark Men”

by on Apr.19, 2011 at 10:01 am, under Shark News Stories

According to a report from MSNBC, Dr. Michael Domeier has voluntarily stopped the use of the Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting (SPOT) tags seen in National Geographic’s “Shark Men.” Domeier is quoted as saying that he has “stopped using such tags because of issues related to fin damage.”

Domeier went on to explain that the plastic bolts used in the tagging practice seen on “Shark Men” can result in deformation of the tagged shark’s dorsal fin, due to the fact that the plastic bolts are relatively permanent and do not degrade. The use of metal bolts that eventually rust away was not reasonable option, according to Domeier, because the bolts can rust unevenly and cause severe damage to the affected shark’s dorsal fin.

Domeier is working on a plan to resolve the issues with the SPOT tagging procedures, but the resolution is taking longer than expected, according to the MSNBC report. The article added that Domeier has turned down the opportunity to join the next season of “Shark Men” due to his work on developing this improved tagging technology and a current book project.

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8 Comments for this entry

  • Tom

    A lot of what Dr.D is saying is half of the real story and 20% of the rest. He had a well known falling out with Chris Fischer and was essentially fired from the project after the Farallones shark tagging disaster last year.

    He’s not on speaking terms with them anymore.

    His sudden change of heart on the tagging front comes from his loss of funding and the current state of Junior, a shark that he tagged which is now in seriously bad shape.

    Some of his Guadalupe tags are looking bad as well.

    So much for televised experiments with iconic species.

    Dr.D is a modern day Shark r=Research Icarus, sadly for the sharks they are the ones to suffer.

    • Tibu

      Tom,

      Interesting comments. Would like to know where you got your info.

    • Swan

      Sigh. Welcome to the Chris Fischer-controlled website. How can you tell? Because of the exaggerated and overly negative comments posted here about Dr. Domeier.

      Fischer’s ego became more apparent with each episode; apparently he had trouble with the fact that his job was to drive the boat and catch the fish, while Dr. Domeier was the featured scientist. (We watched exactly two shows after Dr. Domeier left, and Fischer treated the subsequent scientist almost as poorly.)

      My friends and colleagues recorded the program, in order to fast-forward through the Fischer parts, and just watch Dr. Domeier and the science.

      Everyone knows who the REAL prima donna was on the show. It’s just sad that two years later, his oversized ego still drives him to trash a respected scientist’s reputation.

      • TheDorsalFin

        Swan,

        Fischer has nothing to do with this site, and anybody is welcome to share his/her opinions in the comments section. In fact, Dr. Domeier has posted comments on the site on other posts in the past.

        A lot (though, not all) of the negative comments on SPOT tagging related posts that show up on the site seem to be focused more on concerns with the invasive nature of the tagging methodology, which Fischer continued to use after Domeier’s departure from the project.

  • jodee

    This is awful to hear. I really felt bad for those sharks he took out of the water and tagged like that, i just felt in my gut that this was not right.

  • Betsy Mercado

    I’m glad Dr. Domeier is re-evaluating his methods, however I have another concern for whom so ever decides to be the next scientist onboard with the Shark Men series, what effect does gravity have on these animals after being lifted out of the water? Most of the tagged sharks way in excess of 3,000 lbs and are feeling the gravity of their weights for the first time, are their bodies adapted well enough to deal with the tons of pressure building up excluseively on their underbellies??

  • SharksRule

    I would ignore 99% of what comes out of Dr. Domeier. He’s a prima donna who wanted become a big TV star. This is sour grapes after he got booted from the Shark Men team for basically trying to blackmail the team for more $. The team is MUCH, MUCH better off without him and despite what some are saying, the team is doing a lot of good work.

  • drudown

    I’m not offended by the use of the drill on the White shark. Given the robust nature of the White shark’s immune system, the risk of infection is exceedingly low, no?

    White sharks are both scavenger supreme and hunter unseen. Given the decided advantages “Lamnidae blood” affords them, I don’t see the purported risks of dorsal fin “damage” to be high, e.g.,I doubt an adult White shark would be materially hindered in its ecological niche if its dorsal fin were to be “deformed” and/or otherwise molested.

    Let me be the one to ask what, specifically, is data from satellite tags going to “reveal” about White sharks that is not within the present purview of knowledge?

    For all we know, the “data” from many tagged sharks in “abnornally” deep waters could show they try to get rid of the “parasite” tag the shark can feel has made a home on its dorsal fin. Whether tagged or not, Tigers just “know” to show at French Frigate Shoals, as Albatross chicks grow too fat to fly and, predictably, those often die. Just saying.

    Given there is proven proof adult White sharks (1) are so highly migratory and (2) their diet shifts to more generalist feeder as a foreseeable result of open ocean realities (e.g., food resources are scarce; opportunism is therefore a favorable trait), it seems plausible that most shark attacks on humans are after open ocean migrations. The finely-tuned perceptive faculties of the White shark categorically renders “mistaken identity” a nullity, so why not say “hunger alone” when these apex predators attack and consume us so aggressively? The statistical infrequency of this documented phenomena cannot be “disproven”, so why is there no working hypothesis on the behavior? Just asking.

    Just this: although White sharks are nearly never observed to attack and eat either people or Petrel birds… although the opportunity is so prevalent (e.g., when Petrels scavenge pinniped kills)and with humans, White sharks have been observed to eat Petrels and a wider variety of marine life when migrating. As such, perhaps confirmed attacks on humans (see, e.g., Lloyd Skinner)are the result of simple metabolic need, coupled with long periods of time spent in a more opportunistic ecological niche. White sharks that have just completed a significant migration and are in generalist feeder mode. Traveling from South Africa to Australia is no easy feat with so little resources and meat.

    “Hello, orphaned swimmer- at last, tonight we meet.”

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