Florida Tech Shark Biologist Stars in SharkFest Program

Toby Daly-Engel Is Oft-Quoted Expert in NatGeo’s ‘When Sharks Attack…and Why’

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Toby Daly-Engel, the distinguished shark biologist and director of Florida Tech’s Shark Conservation Lab, is a featured expert on “When Sharks Attack…and Why,” an eight-episode series debuting this week as part of National Geographic’s SharkFest 2023.

The series debuts July 6 at 9 p.m. Eastern on National Geographic with new episodes airing nightly through July 12. It is also now streaming on Disney+, Hulu and the National Geographic website. The series will air on Nat Geo Wild starting July 26 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

As its name suggests, “When Sharks Attack…and Why” investigates shark encounters in America and around the world. “Many attacks are appearing in new and surprising places,” the network notes.

Episodes explore incidents in New York, California, Hawaii, Indonesia, Australia and elsewhere.

At Florida Tech, Daly-Engel conducts research using a combination of genomics, field ecology and modeling to study shark mating systems and habitat use, and the impacts of climate change on shark populations.

Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) swarm. (Atlantic Edge Films)

On the program, she is our expert guide to anatomical and physiological aspects of sharks, many of which are unique to this species. We first meet Daly-Engel in Episode 1, New York Nightmare. Filmed in her lab, she talks viewers through key parts of a shark’s body using a small dogfish shark.

She tells viewers that while a shark’s sense of smell is often touted, these apex predators also have powerful hearing, far better than humans. (In a later episode, she notes a shark’s vision in murky waters is about 10 times stronger than human vision in those conditions.)

“I really enjoyed delving into the science behind shark-human interactions,” Daly-Engel said, “and busting the myths that make people afraid of the water.”

Daly-Engel is no stranger to SharkFest.

Last year she was featured in another SharkFest series, “Shark Attack File,” and she has been on SharkFest and Discovery’s Shark Week programing multiple times, including 2021 when she appeared on three programs across both networks.

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