OCEARCH kicks off latest shark research expedition in Mayport- its soon to be home

Mayport —

OCEARCH launched ‘Expedition Southeast’ this week in Mayport- its 46th ocean research expedition.

The trip’s goal is 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 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.”


OCEARCH is a global non-profit organization conducting unprecedented research on our oceans’ giants in order to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean. Our mission is to return our world’s oceans to balance and abundance through fearless innovations in critical scientific research, education, outreach, and policy using unique collaborations of individuals and organizations in the U.S and abroad. OCEARCH is recognized as a world leader in generating scientific data related to tracking (telemetry) and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white sharks, tiger sharks, and more. OCEARCH provides a free open-sourced Global Shark Tracker® and app that allows scientists, educators, and fans alike to learn about the never before documented movements of our ocean’s animals. The non-profit organization provides a free STEM education curriculum that enables students to learn STEM skills while promoting environmental awareness. OCEARCH’s research is proudly supported by Costa Sunglasses, YETI, SeaWorld, Yamaha Rightwaters, Ulysse Nardin, Cisco Brewers, Jefferson’s Bourbon, Landry’s, and our academic home Jacksonville University. Learn more at ocearch.org.

About Jacksonville University

As northeast Florida’s premier private institution of higher education, Jacksonville University is consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Regional Universities in the South. Founded in 1934, the University offers more than 100 majors, minors, and programs, including in-demand degrees in Nursing, Business, Law, Marine Science, Engineering, Finance, and Psychology, as well as those in the highly specialized fields of Aviation, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Film, Animation, and Healthcare Administration. With its five colleges, eleven schools and four institutes, Jacksonville University’s 235-acre riverfront campus is minutes from downtown and from beautiful area beaches.

April Davis

April Davis, News 104.5 WOKV

April Davis is WOKV’s News Director and Morning Co-anchor of Jacksonville’s Morning News on News 104.5. April joined WOKV in 2023 after more than 20 years as a reporter, anchor and manager at TV and radio stations in Alaska, Alabama, the Carolinas, Colorado, and Georgia.

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