Groupers, barracudas, and sharks, oh my! Predator species can be found in every ecosystem on land or in the sea. Over the past few decades, ecological research has focused on how important the presence of predators can be for their environment. Not only do predators such as sharks help keep their prey’s population healthy and balanced through consuming individuals, but their mere presence can alter the behavior of other animals around them. In this Teen Science Café, Enie Hensel, PhD student in NC State’s Department of Applied Ecology, will be speaking with us about the role of predators in marine ecosystems, from a blue crab crawling in a salt marsh, to a shark cruising over a coral reef.
ABOUT OUR SPEAKER
Enie Hensel is a PhD candidate at North Carolina State University in the Department of Applied Ecology. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida and has worked in several shark and community ecology laboratories in the southeastern United States. Her current research focuses on human impacts in nearshore ecosystems, specifically investigating the effects of overfishing and loss of habitat complexity in reef ecosystems in The Bahamas. She is also North Carolina’s regional ambassador for Sharks4Kids, a non-profit organization, giving presentations to local grade schools about shark conservation and research.