greg metzger : shark guru | researcher | educator
grateful for a little time together greg! let's jump in...
thesalting | ts: when would you say your interest in marine life and conservation first began?
greg metzger | gm: when I was just a little kid watching jacques costeau, sunday nights on PBS, when televisions had rabbit ears!
ts: your'e focussed your energies on shark life and migration around Montauk, Long Island. why specifically that area and what are you seeking to learn/ discover?
gm: in 2015 we were the first to put a satellite tag in a young of the year white shark, in the Atlantic Ocean. in 2016 and 2017, OCEARCH came to work with us. we tagged an additional 20 (all in Montauk). we have spent the subsequent years targeting baby whites all across Long Island, but, our best success has been in Montauk.
the south fork shark research and education program is interested in how the baby whites and other species of sharks, use Long Island waters when they are here. (typically within the months of may through october). we are interested in what water depths and temperatures these sharks spend their time. we know very little about the basic day to day lives of the sharks we study. each one we tag helps us to learn more about them.
ts: is there a large team when your'e out on a typical expedition/
gm: our daily crew ranges from 2 to 7 on my boat. but during our annual Montauk expedition, we have two boats with a range of 6-12 team members working!
ts: is there a specific pieces of shark your'e studying?
gm: our funding is very limited. we typically catch 7-8 species of shark. but with our limited resources for tags, we have tagged only 4 species. we have focussed most of our attention on the baby white sharks and thresher sharks.
ts: serious question: have you ever seen Sharknado? thoughts?
gm: hahaha! honest answer: I have seriously attempted to sit and watch one of the many Sharknado movies. but no matter how hard I try, I have nt been able to get through more than 20 minutes! just too painful.
of course, jaws id y all time favorite movie (the crew often communicates in jaws quotes)!!
ts: please tell us about your affiliation with the south fork natural history museum and the good they do?
gm: not sure how much space you have for your post! the museum is AMAZING! every staff member and volunteer is so passionate and totally dedicated to the mission of the museum: creating a place to discover, explore, learn and engage. the aim is to get people into the environment and connect with it so they will protect it for the next generation.
I am the chief field coordinator for the soft shark research and education program. basically, I volunteer my time (yes, volunteer, as do all the others who make up the shark team) to organize equipment, other boat captains, volunteer crewmen and conduct the ocean work. I have the best part of the job, in my opinion. I get to touch the sharks, put tags on them and recover the tags as they release them off of them.
ts: what are the goals of the program?
gm:we would love to have the resources to be able to tag every shark we catch! we would love to really know how these different shark species all live in the same water at the same time. we would love to see if, or how, climate change will move the white shark nursery. lastly, examine how the development of the offshore wind farms will impact shark's current utilization of Long Island waters.
ts: what have you learned form your research these past 7 years that has surprised you?
gm: the south shoer of Long Island really is a nursery for great white sharks!
ts: favorite restaurant on the south fork?
gm: gosmans resturant | montauk
ts: favorite restaurant on the north fork?
gm: il giardino | aquebogue
ts: who inspires you?
gm: my mom and my wife. both have been through really rough times. both have come out the other side with smiles on their faces. it makes me say "man, I have it easy!".....if they can do it, I can do anything.
ts: favorite book?
gm: the hungry ocean by linda greenlaw
ts: favorite movie?
gm: jaws and the dark knight
ts: last movie you've seen in an actual movie theater?
gm: oh boy....the meg (in imax 3-D of course!)
ts: how do you erase hate in your every day life?
gm: strong IPA's and a great cigar! I enjoy the time I have with my students that are going to do great things with their lives. I look and listen to them ad it restores my faith that the next generation will have good people to positively impact this world.