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Savannah Ryburn, a 5th year UNC Ph.D. student, conducts her research through the Bruno lab, led by biology professor John Bruno, and the Galapagos Science Center.

It’s 5 p.m., the sun is starting to set, and many people are heading home for the day. But Savannah Ryburn has just tagged one of the Galapagos’ elusive juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks and started the clock. For the next 24 hours, she will stay on her boat monitoring a hydrophone – an instrument that emits steady beeps as it picks up signals from the acoustic tag attached to the shark’s fin – steering the boat to stay close to the shark, and recording the shark’s movements. Aside from a short nap around 5 a.m., which is interrupted by a pelican roosting on her head, she will not sleep.


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