My name is Michael Näf and I am a swiss biology teacher and also part of the head of the Kantonsschule am Burggraben St.Gallen, a high school/grammar school. It’s funny that an inlander like me, and many other swiss people, got and still get keen on the marine life especially on sharks. It all started with my studies at the University of Zürich, where my long existing interest in the aquatic life was strengthened and where I also attended to some courses of marine biology. I finished with my diploma on Perca fluviatilis, a cousin of the north american Perca flavescens, in 1990. I then had the opportunity to take part in a catch-and-release-programm of Samuel Gruber. That was the first time I met Doc, the shark lab and Bimini. From then on I made several trips to the shark lab and to Bimini, the last one for a research experience in October 2013 with my sun (18 years) and my daughter (16 years).
Between my first and my last visit lie seven other encounters with Bimini, the lab and the sharks. In spring 1992 I conducted a own field study on the feeding selectivity of young Lemon Sharks, which I actually stopped after the first data collecting period. That was the time of my closest contact with Doc and Marie. We were a group of four Swiss, two scientists and two helpers, preparing our equipment one month in Miami at Doc’s house and working two months at the lab. We changed the look of the lab quite a bit, installing new kitchen-cupboards, assembling metal outdoor-sheds, cutting down huge conifer trees in front of the lab…
My life then led me into other directions and nowadays it’s my ongoing interest and some nostalgic feelings that bring me back to Bimini, bringing some friends with me sometimes. I am fascinated about elasmobranchs in general and the Lemon Shark is a quite cooperative species, compared to other sharks.
Thinking about Doc I can say that he is a very reliable and persevering person with a strong charisma. He was always very generous, helpful and supporting to me. He has a clear logical kind of thinking and a great talent to organise. Over all these years he has collected such a huge amount of knowledge on the marine life especially on sharks and other elasmobranchs. His ability to fascinate others on these subjects is seldom equaled. Meeting Doc and the shark lab enriched my life and still does even though I made my way here in Switzerland.