Another successful IGC CoffeeConvo took place via Zoom last week on August 11th with Dr. Francesco Ferretti, associate professor of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in VT’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. IGC Fellows Lauren Maynard, Sam Silknetter, Luciana Pereira, and Zach Gajewski participated in the morning Zoom meeting, which began with introductions and some background information for Francesco’s path prior to coming to Virginia Tech and his research with sharks. Francesco shared details about an upcoming project to survey shark populations in the Mediterranean Sea, the first study to tag sharks in that region, and with a potential feature in the works with Hollywood filmmakers to make a movie about the expedition!

Francesco recently moved to Blacksburg to join Virginia Tech in Fall of 2019, and participants shared the unique challenges and unexpected joys in their experience of moving to a small town. Fellows then swapped stories about the most challenging academic situations faced thus far in graduate school, which of course included the recent move to virtual and online classes.

Francesco’s recommended late summer read:

The Outlaw Ocean, Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by New York Times Investigative Reporter, Ian Urbina:

“There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world’s oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to rampant criminality and exploitation.

Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortion providers, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways — drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Ian Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world’s economies rely.

Both a gripping adventure story and a stunning exposé, this unique work of reportage brings fully into view for the first time the disturbing reality of a floating world that connects us all, a place where anyone can do anything because no one is watching.”