Science on Tap

A scientist walks into a bar, sits down with a former producer of 60 Minutes, orders a beer and talks to a live audience. No punch line here! This is Science on Tap, a live, award-winning show and web series produced by Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

You can see all previous episodes here.


Science on Tap presents “Shark Night!”
featuring Dr. Demian Chapman

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Details on the event:

Dr. Demian Chapman, an assistant professor in Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, arrived at the Stony Brook Yacht Club open bar with a bag full of shark fins. The job of the audience, before the end of Dr. Chapman’s conversation with host Steven Reiner, was identifying the species the fins came from. The audience shared the experience of customs officials around the world – but especially in Southeast Asia – trained by Demian and his wife, Debra Abercrombie, to spot the fins of endangered shark species being illegally imported for shark fin soup, which can fetch $100 a bowl in China.

The shark fin trade, estimated to kill millions of sharks every year, is only one of the reasons for the drastic decline in shark populations worldwide. Dr. Chapman explained how this affects the health of the oceans, why sharks don’t deserve their fearsome reputation and described his own experiences in capturing and tagging sharks to track their long-distance travels.

All photos and videos below courtesy of Sean Williams:


Tagging the Endangered Oceanic White Tip Shark

In April and May of 2014, a team of scientists and shark conservationists took part in a research expedition in the Bahamian Shark Sanctuary. Marine scientists, Demian Chapman and his wife Debra Abercrombie, helped tag the oceanic white tip shark. The creature is threatened by the illegal shark fin trade and tagging the animal tracks its long-distance travels in an effort to protect it.

Tracking the Voyages of Endangered Bahamian Sharks

In 2014, a team of marine scientists and shark conservationists, including Demian Chapman and Debra Abercrombie, tagged sharks threatened by the illegal shark fin trade to monitor the animals’ journeys and help save them.

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