Shark Week at Extreme Biology! A Conversation with David Shiffman

By Ms Baker

David Shiffman talks to 5th Graders at Staten Island Academy

David Shiffman (@whysharksmatter), a marine biologist who studies sharks, visited the school yesterday and met with 4th, 5th, and 9th graders to discuss his experience working with sharks.  Shiffman gave a brief overview of his fieldwork and then answered student questions. Student questions ranged from why sharks bite people to what types of shark are the largest and smallest in the world. He discussed the two major threats that are facing shark species worldwide including by-catch fishing and shark fin soup.  Students also learned that sharks have two senses that humans do not, and that 33% of shark species are expected to go extinct in the next 10-15 years.

Thank you David Shiffman for visiting our school!

David Shiffman talks to the 9th grade students

What other questions do you have for Mr. Shiffman?  Post them here!

  • JDog 820

    What is the smallest shark in the world?

  • Jesse

    hello. i was wondering why do some sharks live so deep in the ocean?

  • Kiki

    What is the most kill crazy shark ever?

  • Donner

    I loved seeing Mr.Shiffman. He was awesome. But why do sharks have tastebuds on the outside of thier body, not on their tongue?

  • Aneesha

    Hello Mr. Shiffman,
    I really enjoyed your presentation. But i have one question for you, If you had to pick a favorite shark what would it be? And how many rows of teeth does a tiger shark have?

  • Juliette

    Hi Mr. Shiffman,
    I was wondering what the most aggressive shark is.

  • Nia

    hello Mr.Shiffman

    i was wondering why dont sharks eat other dead sharks.

  • Mishy

    Hi Mr. Shiffman,
    I enjoyed listening to your presentation. I have a question. How many pounds does the Tiger Shark weigh?

  • spotty

    what would happen if all sharks became extinct?

  • Sarah

    Hi Mr. Shiffman,
    I was wondering how much does the Whale shark weigh?

  • Sarah

    Hi Mr. Shiffman,
    I was just wondering how much does the whale shark weigh?

  • Nadia101

    Hi Mr. Shiffman,
    I was wondering how many teeth does a whale shark have?

  • Cooldude # 1

    i would just like to know what the average number of sharks left for each species…

  • greg 218

    Hi Mr. Shiffman,
    i was wondering who inspired u to reasearch sharks?

  • Cool dude #1

    i think he already said that it didn’thave teeth… but i’m not sure.
    Cool dude #1

  • Anonymous

    @allsharksmatter, that was wonderful of you to come to SIA! I actually wasn’t able to ask you this when you came to talk us 9th/10th graders, but ironically the day before I was looking at scio10 videos of last year’s group and watched Mike interview you! You said you were hoping that scio10 would help you gain technological skills that would later help spread shark awareness. How has your experience improved your skills and what were you especially glad to have learned? Would you recommend this conference to other shark conservation biologists? Again, thanks for this great experience and see you at scio11!

  • jules rules1

    hi mr shiffman.
    i would like to know , do sharks eyes blink? or do they just stand there and do nothing?

  • WhySharksMatter

    Hi, guys!

    I won’t be able to get to these answers for a few days (I have final exams, too), but I’ll get to them as soon as I can. Thanks again for hosting me, it was nice to meet you all!

  • louist123

    How many species of sharks are there

  • Sandra

    Hi Mr. Shiftman,
    I was wondering how much does a Great White Shark weigh?

  • anonymous user

    Hi Mr. Shiffman,
    Do sharks have a reproductive system?

  • Gracie :}

    Hi! Mr. Shiftman
    I was wondering what do lepord sharks eat?




  • Anonymous

    Hi, Mr.Shiffman!
    How do you work with the sharks? Don’t they bite the researchers?

  • Ms Baker


  • ben dog 111 coolman

    Which shark has the most teeth?

  • alex123

    What shark lives the deepest in the ocean!!!

  • Anonymous

    Have there been any discoveries of any fossils of extinct sharks recently.

  • Dana m

    Hello Mr. Shiffman. I really liked your presentation a couple of days ago. But I have one question for you. What inspired you to study sharks?

  • WhySharksMatter

    Ok, guys, I’m really really sorry for the delay. Things have been very crazy for me since I got back home from New York. I just finished processing the last of my 500 samples for my Masters thesis research, and responding to all of your questions is the absolute first thing I’m doing since then (other than eating, which I am doing as I respond to your questions).

  • WhySharksMatter

    Fish and crustaceans I think.

  • WhySharksMatter

    5-15 depending on the species

  • WhySharksMatter

    I work with sharks very carefully. I’ve never been bitten by a shark, but I did have to go to the hospital once because I put a hook through my hand.

  • WhySharksMatter

    I’m not sure, but tiger sharks have a lot of ‘em. There might be some less common species that has more.

  • WhySharksMatter

    There probably have been, but that’s not my field- sorry.

  • WhySharksMatter

    There are lots of deep-water sharks. The coolest (in my humble opinion) is the megamouth. Their gums glow in the dark, which attracts prey to them.

  • WhySharksMatter

    Again, I feel like most boys go through either a shark or a dinosaur phase. I never grew out of mine.

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