puffer fish


From Sharks to Pufferfish – the ongoing adventures of a former ASEC crew member

Over the years ASEC has welcomed a variety of biologists and shark enthusiasts to their crew, but what happens to these folks once they go on to seek new adventures?

Watch this video to see how former crew member, Naomi Pleizier, has pursued her interest in marine biology and is studying pufferfish in The Bahamas:



Biologist Naomi Pleizier bid farewell to the ASEC crew in 2012 to work with another former crew-member, Alex Wilson, in studying fish behaviour as part of the Cooke Lab at Carleton University in Canada. Guests on the shark tour may have wondered why some sharks seem to have unique personalities. For instance, the crew sometimes recognizes aggressive individuals that actively chase the bait, whereas others calmly laze around, seemingly more interested in the boat than the bait itself! This experience also made Naomi was curious as to why individual fish tend to have different consistent behaviours, and how stress might affect these fish “personalities”.


Naomi and her research team traveled to The Bahamas to study key survival behaviours in checkered pufferfish, a common fish in mangrove ecosystems, and to find out whether consistent individual behaviours can be altered by a stress hormone, cortisol. Their discoveries help us understand how fish from this threatened ecosystem might respond to natural challenges, such as predators, and stressors caused by humans, such as habitat destruction. Her research project is featured in a video contest sponsored by the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada – view and share her video to show your support!


For more information about the research that Naomi, Alex, and their colleagues do, check out the Cooke Lab website:



Naomi misses the crew, sunrises, and flying sharks in South Africa but is grateful for how her time with ASEC helped kick-start her career in marine biology!

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