Outsideonline.com, July 26, 2018
As part of her work as a shark scientist and wildlife educator, Melissa Cristina Márquez looks at how predators are portrayed in the media—for example, when they bite someone. While filming Cuba’s Secret Shark Lair, which premiered on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week on July 23, she became a firsthand witness to that research when a crocodile clamped down on her leg. She spoke to Outside about her work and experience on set.
OUTSIDE: Can you tell us about your background as a biologist and what sharks you study?
MÁRQUEZ: I’ve been studying sharks since 2011, when I entered undergraduate school at the New College of Florida in Sarasota. We had off in January to do what we call ISP—independent study projects. The first one that I did was in the Bimini Shark Lab in the Bahamas. If you are a shark nerd, that’s where you go. And that hooked me. I said, “Yep, this is exactly what I want to do.” The next ISP I went to was in South Africa, and I started studying great white sharks. That led to my senior thesis, which focused on tracking great whites; I’m always interested in tracking why an animal is where it is and what it’s doing. That’s essentially my tagline. People will say to me, “What are you, like a shark PR manager?” And I say, “Yeah, I can deal with that description.”