On Nov. 27, 2023, OCEARCH launched Expedition Southeast, its 46th ocean research expedition, from the M/V OCEARCH’s new dock in Mayport, Florida. At 11:30 a.m. OCEARCH and Jacksonville University will gather a group of state and city leaders at the Mayport Waterfront to celebrate the expedition and the ongoing development of OCEARCH Global Headquarters.
The trip’s goal will be to study mature white sharks to better understand how they utilize their overwintering area, as well as identify the critical oceanographic features and dietary resources. Alongside 41 collaborators from 28 research institutions across the globe, OCEARCH will collect data to support 24 distinct science projects aimed at moving our oceans towards abundance.
In June, OCEARCH and Jacksonville University announced the designation of $5 million in funding from the state of Florida for the OCEARCH Global Headquarters, a Research, Rescue and Education center in Mayport, FL. The Headquarters will include spaces for public education and meetings, OCEARCH ship operations, dockage for research vessels, a state-of-the-art marine life research laboratory with data and academic resource management, and basic housing for research and crew members.
“When our journey began on the water we were in pursuit of building an enterprise that brings the world’s best watermen together with the world’s leading scientists to collect the data we need to make sure our kids have an ocean full of fish. Socially responsible and innovative leaders coming together to give OCEARCH a permanent home in Florida will ensure its global impact transcends any individual’s lifespan,” explains OCEARCH Founder & Expedition Leader Chris Fischer.
OCEARCH, the largest shark-tagging and oceanic research organization in the world, has called Jacksonville University its academic home since 2017. To date, OCEARCH has conducted 45 global expeditions, helping advance research projects involving more than 90 academic bodies including a dozen public and private institutions in Florida. This work has resulted in more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including one of the largest studies ever published on white sharks, authored by Jacksonville University researcher and Interim Director of the Marine Science Research Institute Dr. Bryan Franks and his OCEARCH colleagues.
“This launch from Mayport represents the culmination of two years of strategic collaboration between Jacksonville University, OCEARCH, the City of Jacksonville, Mayport development groups, and our local delegation,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. “Jacksonville University continues to encourage and promote scientific exploration in an effort to address global issues and build stronger communities, and the development of the headquarters of OCEARCH, our world-renowned ocean research partner, is yet another path forward to realizing this vision.”