Published: Aug 16, 2013 12:56 PM EDT

ISLAMORADA, Fla. (AP) - A group of first generation college-bound students has joined researchers off the Florida Keys in the hopes of catching sharks to be tagged for scientific research.
    
More than two dozen attempts were made on Tuesday, but they didn't catch any sharks on this expedition with a program called Upward Bound.
    
It was disappointing for the students like 17-year-old Leandra Gonzalez, who plans to study marine biology in college. The teenagers had joined researchers with the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami.
    
But lab manager Catherine Macdonald says "no data is still data." She adds that the goal is to encourage students to get involved in science even if they don't pursue careers as scientists.
    
The research helps to evaluate the sizes of shark populations, crucial habitats and ways to rebuild some of the declining shark populations.

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