Toby Daly-Engel ’96

There aren’t many women studying sharks but hopefully that will change partially because of people like Toby who is doing great work and getting attention.

She is an assistant professor of biological sciences and shark researcher at the Florida Institute of Technology. In February of 2018 Toby made headlines when it was announced that a research team she led discovered a new deepwater species, the Atlantic sixgill shark. She also was part of team that recently discovered a new species of dog fish shark – Squalus clarkae or “Genie’s Dogfish. It is named after the late Eugenie Clark, an American shark scientist known for her research on shark behavior. Even The Discovery Channel was paying attention to Toby’s work and featured her on the July 27th, 2018 episode of Shark Week.

Toby grew up in Woodstock, NY. She guesses she saw her first shark as a child at the aquarium on Coney Island but no one really knows where her fascination for them came from. She does remember spending a lot of time watching the sharks with her face pressed against the glass and receiving a book about sharks from her mother. She studied biology at Oberlin, spent a summer working in Duke University’s Marine Lab on the Outer Banks of NC, and got her masters in zoology at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Toby’s favorite shark is the hammerhead because they are so strange looking. She says we should not be afraid of sharks but be grateful if we are lucky enough to see one. Most people are not aware they are seriously threatened by over fishing. Toby says, “Without sharks the entire marine eco-system can suffer. So if you care about the ocean, you know when you see a shark, that’s good. That’s an indication of a healthy environment.”

Toby is clearly passionate about her work and she is getting the recognition she deserves. The oceans and the creatures who live in them benefit from her research but ultimately we all do, Thank you Toby!

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