Sharks, HRI Researcher Take Center Stage During Discovery’s Shark Week

Press Release
Shark Week 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – For many, summer is synonymous with Discovery’s annual Shark Week and for the sixth year, a Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi researcher will be featured in the yearly celebration of sharks.

HRI’s Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation (CSSC) Associate Research Scientist, Dr. Kesley Banks, will once again appear during this year’s programming. Dr. Banks is frequently called upon as an expert for shark-related programs for television and is often highlighted for her work tagging and tracking sharks off Texas beaches and around artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Sharks are a vital part of our oceans,” Banks said. “Without them, our oceans are out of balance. By working to understand the importance of their ecological roles and conserving these apex predators, we’re helping to ensure healthy oceans for both current and future generations.”

Banks went on to say that, while there is still a lot of work to be done to change the public’s perception of sharks, attitudes about sharks have drastically shifted toward conserving them rather than harvesting, and this is a trend she hopes will continue.

“Sharks are great ambassadors for the ocean,” said Dr. Greg Stunz, HRI’s Senior Executive Director and Director of the CSSC. “They are a key that opens the door for scientific curiosity and discovery. Most people are fascinated with sharks, and with the help of these charismatic animals, we have a great opportunity to teach children and adults about why healthy oceans are essential to the well-being of people and the planet.”

Dr. Banks will be featured in an all-new episode that continues the “Monster Mako” series, airing on Thursday, July 27 at 8 p.m. CST on Discovery. Those interested can watch previous “Monster Mako” episodes on Discovery’s website.

To further celebrate sharks this month, HRI’s acclaimed podcast, The Gulf Stream, will feature an episode with Dr. Banks discussing all things sharks, their importance to our oceans, and what inspired her to study sharks as part of her career. Find the episode, recorded in partnership with the Texas State Aquarium, on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts on Shark Awareness Day, Friday, July 14.

Follow The Gulf Stream, HRI, and the CSSC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter throughout the month to learn more about Dr. Banks’ work with sharks, see exclusive behind-the-scenes clips from the Texas State Aquarium, and more.

Learn more about the CSSC, including more information about tagged sharks here:

Check the Discovery website for additional information and air times for Shark Week shows:

Catch Dr. Banks' episode of The Gulf Stream podcast recorded at the Texas State Aquarium on our YouTube page:

The public can support HRI’s shark research by donating online: