CJ Crooks graduated with a Zoology with Industrial Placement BSc in 2012. He spent his placement year in the Bahamas, working at the Bimini Biological Station Foundation ‘Sharklab.’ The Sharklab is a non-profit organisation offering internships and placements to people interested in shark research and ocean ecosystem conservation. They’ve published scientific papers, appeared in TV shows, films, and documentaries, and they possess the largest genetic database of a single shark species in the world.
After graduating, CJ returned to the Bahamas as the Media Manager of the Bimini Biological Field Station. He relishes the variety in the role, which sees him heavily involved in bringing in income and exposure via production companies and social media. He is the primary contact for every production they host and is leading their website reconstruction and the improvement of their Facebook andTwitter accounts. He also releases details of their fascinating research to media outlets.
Most important to CJ is the fact that his role makes scientific research accessible to the public. He currently organises a non-technical Naturalist Course focusing on shark biology and ecology which is open to anyone over 18. He also runs Research Experiences for people who are unable to commit long-term or are too young to volunteer. Of course, the most exciting element of the role is his involvement in research: whether tagging a free swimming great hammerhead or catching a 12 foot tiger shark, no two days are the same.
CJ also gets to indulge his strongest passion while working in the Bahamas. As a keen photographer, CJ documents the research via still and motion pictures which he sells on a freelance basis to the public, the media, and production companies. The images that accompany this article are his and there are many more to be seen on his website. CJ had this to say:
“I’m living the dream right now. I learn and see new things every day and live on an idyllic Caribbean island. None of this would’ve been possible without the Faculty; the opportunities provided were second-to-none and shaped my prospects as a graduate. I highly recommend the placement year; it helped me to realise my passions and dreams.”