SoFo’s Shark Expert Talks Great Whites

Sharks of all sizes summer off Long Island’s coast, and some, like this sand shark on a Wainscott Beach, come closer to shore. Jordy Mark

The South Fork Natural History Museum will host a new presentation by Gregory Metzger, whose official title is chief field coordinator for SoFo's Shark Research and Education program — but that's just a longer, far less tantalizing way of saying he's the man who uses just a rod and reel to catch the juvenile great white sharks that were tagged and studied the past few years to establish, for the first time ever, that Long Island's waters are the only confirmed nursery area for great whites in the North Atlantic.

Mr. Metzger, who is a marine science and aquaculture teacher at Southampton High School in addition to working for the SoFo program, will explain the data that's been collected from the sharks that are tagged, as well as the four-year-old program's preparations for the 2019 field season that takes place from June to August. Last year, Mr. Metzger and seven colleagues published a peer-reviewed article about their research in the prominent science journal Nature.

Saturday's talk begins at 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Metzger knows people are usually either extremely interested or mildly frightened to learn that sharks of all sizes summer off the south coast of Long Island in large numbers — great whites along with threshers, makos, tiger, and sand sharks. In the past he's called the sharks' presence a "great thing" for the local ocean ecosystem and insisted they are little threat to humans. 

Saturday's presentation is free for SoFo members, $15 per nonmember adult and $10 per child ages 3 to 12. Advanced registration is requested. Spots can be reserved at 631-537-9735 or sofo@hamptons.com. The fee includes admission to the museum on any day of the visitor's choosing. SoFo is at 377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton.