The coronavirus upended many Staples High School students’ summer plans.
But not Tyler Mace’s.
The rising junior spent 3 weeks studying in the University of Miami’s renowned shark program. This week he’s off to Montauk to work with Dr. Craig O’Connell — the man who taught Mike Tyson how to put a tiger shark to sleep, on “Shark Week” — and other top researchers.
Starting last summer as Dr. O’Connell’s first-ever research fellow, Tyler is part of a 5-year study of juvenile great white sharks in New York. He’s tagging them, taking tissue samples, and releasing them to track their development.
But you don’t just have to read about Tyler’s work. This Thursday (August 13, 9 p.m.), you can see him on the Discovery Channel’s “Sharkadelic Summer” episode — hosted by Snoop Dogg.
Tyler has gone to Guadalupe Island in Mexico to dive with the largest great white sharks. “We were really lucky on one of our dives to see Lucy – a female that’s 18 feet long and about 4,000 pounds,” he says.
“She’s the size of a bus, but when you’re in the water her and other great whites, their presence is just regal. They don’t care that you are there. They don’t want to eat you. They want to co-exist. It’s the humans that are usually the ones creating problems.”
Using extra time at home during COVID, Tyler created a nonprofit. The Shark Side will raise money to support shark conservation and research efforts.
“We need to save the sharks and our oceans,” Tyler says. “A healthy shark population is essential to a healthy oceanic ecosystem.”