Great white shark Lydia’s record-breaking journey


This video is called Great White Shark Living Legend Documentary.

By Alyssa Danigelis, Discovery News:

Great White Shark On Historic Marathon Migration

March 07, 2014 10:03am ET

A great white shark called Lydia is set to make history. First tagged a year ago off the Florida coast, she’s on her way to becoming the first tracked white shark to cross the Atlantic.

Lydia is being monitored by the marine nonprofit Ocearch as part of its ongoing project to help researchers and scientists gather previously unattainable data on shark movement, biology and health. The 14-foot-6-inch great white has migrated more than 19,000 miles since being tagged, and is about to cross the mid-Atlantic ridge — closer to Europe than the United States.

Over time, Ocearch has collaborated with over 50 researchers from more than 20 institutions. The team that tagged Lydia included Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries senior scientist Greg Skomal. Tracking helps the scientists learn more about great white shark biology, he told me last summer. And that could mean providing beach managers with better information to keep both the sharks and the public safe.

The Ocearch team uses two different kinds of electronic tags, Skomal explained. One is a pop-up satellite tag that can archive data such as depth and light levels. The tag can be programmed to release from the shark and then float on the water surface to transmit data back to the scientists.

Another is a real-time satellite tag, which connects to a satellite whenever the shark comes to the surface, providing data about the shark’s movements so scientists — and the public — can follow a shark’s migration patterns over a long time. This is what Lydia has.

In order to tag a great white shark, the team first had to lure it to a smaller boat — no easy task — then catch the shark safely and transfer it to the main Ocearch vessel via hydraulic lift. The team only had 15 minutes to attach tracking tech, do scans, take a small sample and then release the shark. In August, they successfully tagged a 14-foot-2-inch great white named Katharine and followed her progress from Cape Cod to Daytona Beach, Florida.

In the future, an underwater robot could even track tagged great white sharks. Skomal, a Shark Week veteran (video), has been working on an autonomous underwater shark tracking robot that can compete with the robots that West Coast shark trackers Chris Lowe and Chris Clark are developing. “For science purposes it’s great to know everything you possibly can about all the animals on Earth. White sharks are no exception,” Skomal said.

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New shark research


This video says about itself:

A “shark‘s eye” view: Witnessing the life of a top predator

28 Feb 2014

Scientists at the University of Hawaii and the University of Tokyo are attaching sophisticated sensors and video cameras to sharks, giving them a “shark’s eye” view of the ocean and revealing new findings about how sharks swim and live in their natural environment. The new research is being presented at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting co-sponsored by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanography Society and the American Geophysical Union.

For more information, visit here.

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Shark beaches alive on Vlieland island


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Dylan Irion, Swimming Behaviour of the Common Smoothhound Based on Accelerometer Data

A thorough understanding of the behaviour and habitat use of sharks is critical for improving our understanding of the movement ecology and thus the effective conservation of these threatened species. Direct observation of sharks is often difficult to accomplish in the marine environment where access to free-swimming individuals can be restricted by numerous factors.

The miniaturisation and reduced costs of producing sensors for bio-logging has provided several solutions to overcome this obstacle. The accelerometer is a sensor that functions by recording changes in acceleration due to the dynamic motion of a body, and the static acceleration caused by gravity.

In this study I demonstrate the potential for utilising tri-axial accelerometry as a method for characterising the movement of sharks. By attaching accelerometers to captive common smoothhound sharks (Mustelus mustelus) and comparing the accelerometer record to visual observations of their behaviour, I was able to detect tail beat frequency, tail beat amplitude, and body posture.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Shark strands alive on Vlieland

Update: Monday 24 Feb 2014, 13:48

On Vlieland, a living shark, more than a meter in size, has beached. Never before such a large shark had washed up [alive] on the Dutch coast. It is a starry smooth-hound shark normally only found in warmer seas.

Hikers found the exhausted shark yesterday on the beach. The fish is injured on its muzzle. It was put back into the sea, but kept beaching again and again. That’s why people brought it to the aquarium in the nature center De Noordwester on Vlieland.

The starry smooth-hound shark is not dangerous to humans. It has no teeth and only eats crustaceans such as shrimps.

According to Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad, the shark shows signs of recovery.

See also here.

Sharks beaches on Vlieland: here.

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Galapagos islands tiger sharks, new research


This video is called Expedition Galápagos: Tiger Sharks.

Press release from OCEARCH:

First Tiger sharks in history of Galapagos Islands tagged

Wednesday, 19 February 2014, 10:53 am

First Tiger sharks in history of Galapagos Islands tagged, including 4-meter female named Yolanda captured in Canal de Itabaca – 66 fish, 8 species tagged in total

The Galapagos National Park Directorate, Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth collaborated with OCEARCH to complete its 18th global expedition – conducted in one of the world’s treasured marine resources, the Galapagos Islands. According to OCEARCH collaborating lead scientist and Science Director of TIRN,Dr. Alex Hearn: “We brought together a multidisciplinary team of scientists and the foremost marine megafauna explorers. We made use of the world’s only oceanic research lift platform, which allowed us to handle large sharks with a minimal amount of stress. Our research, which uses methods approved by the IACUC Animal Care Committee while I was a Project Scientist at UC Davis, and by the Galapagos National Park Directorate, accomplished so much in so little time – over 66 individuals and 8 species caught, tagged and released. We have spent years working towards this study – making the leap from a shark movement study to one of the entire pelagic assemblage.”

The first Tiger sharks in the history of the Galapagos Islands were tagged and studied, including a large 4 meter female that was captured in a canal where a Navy diver had been working was concerned with its presence. The shark was named after Yolanda Kakabadse Navarro, aunt of Pablo Navarro, an employee of Caterpillar, the primary sponsor of the expedition and OCEARCH. Yolanda is the current president of the World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF), the former Minister of Environment for the government of Ecuador and the former president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She also founded the Fundación Natura in Quito and the Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano. Yolanda has dedicated her life and career to protection and awareness of the environment and environmental issues, not only in Ecuador, but worldwide.

“Tiger sharks are incredibly impressive animals, and I am excited to share my name with one. There have been serious population declines in some areas due to fishing for their fins for shark fin soup, which sadly is still seen as a delicacy in many places,” said Yolanda Kakabadse, President, WWF International. “Tiger sharks undertake incredible journeys, about which we still know remarkably little – so this tagging project will help provide crucial information for conserving these magnificent animals.”

Dr. Hearn described the discovery of the Tiger sharks after capturing tagging and releasing 27 other sharks: “Just before the end of our trip, we were approached by a concerned member of the Ecuadorian Navy to ask for help with a large tiger shark that they were frequently encountering whilst doing dive maintenance work. Thanks to this conversation, the Navy gave us permission to attempt to catch and tag the shark. We ended up catching all four of our tagged Tiger sharks at this site. From a perceived threat, these sharks became overnight conservation icons for the Galapagos community, and their movements will be followed simultaneously by the Navy divers, local schoolchildren, the National Park officials who witnessed the tagging, and the scientists involved in the study.”

“This is an important project for the management of the Galapagos Marine Reserve because of the immediate scope of migration data on individuals and aggregations of shark species,” said Arturo Izurieta, Director of the Galapagos National Park. “It’s a project that has been strengthened in recent years with contributions from conservation partners such as Charles Darwin Foundation, OCEARCH and the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador leading the process of generation of information applied to management.”

Hearn was pleased with the breadth of species: “In all 31 sharks were captured, tagged, sampled and released including 4 Tiger, 8 Hammerhead, 9 Silky and 10 Blacktip sharks. A total of 35 bony fishes were captured, tagged, sampled and released including 5 Yellowfin Tuna, 10 Wahoo, 10 Skipjack and 10 Rainbow Runners. This huge sample of open water fish from across the food chain will help us understand how marine protected areas around oceanic islands contribute to the conservation of the open water species assemblage as a whole.”

Swen Lorenz, Executive Director for the Charles Darwin Foundation attributed the success to collaboration and previously unavailable capacity: “The combination of CDF’s scientific knowledge and OCEARCH’s capacity to capture, handle and release large mature animals resulted in an extremely successful expedition where 100% of the research goals were achieved.” More detail from Swen on the expedition can be found on his blog post “Tagging a Tiger in the World’s Most Pristine Tropical Archipelago”.

Expedition Leader and Founding Chairman for OCEARCH, Chris Fischer commented: “We came here to serve the ocean, Ecuador and its people, the scientists and the Galapagos National Park. I am proud of the endurance and tenacity our team demonstrated. Furthermore, a shark that would have likely been targeted and killed as a nuisance or threat was instead tagged with multiple technologies so public safety officials, local residents and the science team can track its movements in near real time. The fear of the unknown is a powerful negative force that we hope to remove by replacing that fear with the facts.”

Dr. Pelayo Salinas de León of the Charles Darwin Foundation summed up the expedition: “Being able to work with Chris and all the OCEARCH team has been a unique experience and has allowed us to achieve all our research goals. Satellite and acoustic tagging the first adult tiger sharks and large Yellow Fin Tunas in the Galapagos Marine Reserve was a lifetime experience and it was only possible thanks to the OCEARCH unique platform. Thanks to this expedition we will be able to track the movements of these apex predators for the next 10 years to come. This research will provide very valuable information to further understanding our knowledge on the ecology of these key species and to inform the Galapagos National Park management plans. Also, we will obtain very accurate data on the regional migratory patterns of these species and this information will be very valuable to promote regional conservation actions through initiatives like the Eastern Tropical Pacific Corridor.”

David Acuña Marrero of CDF added: “OCEARCH has provided us with the best possible resources in the world to tag sharks: the most experienced and proactive team in shark’s handling and tagging, in a boat that performs perfect for this purpose. OCEARCH’s platform makes handling and tagging big sharks an ‘easy’ task, as we saw ourselves the last day of the expedition tagging a 4m beautiful tiger shark.”

Heather Marshall of UMass Dartmouth, working to collect blood samples for Dr. Greg Skomal of the MA Marine Fisheries for the study of stress physiology, said: “I was pleased to see, from initial analysis in the field, that stress indicators were not significantly exacerbated throughout the tagging process. Indeed, when the sharks were released, their stress response looked low across the board based on the initial data.”

“We envisage a series of peer reviewed publications arising from this research, including regional analyses of movement patterns of Silky and Tiger sharks using data previously collected on OCEARCH expeditions at Cocos Island, Costa Rica in 2011 and at the Revillagigedos Islands, Mexico in 2010. The science team expects to present its results at relevant international conferences, including the American Elasmobranch Society meeting in 2015”, adds Dr. Hearn.

Enabling local scientists to perform fieldwork is an important part of the OCEARCH mission. The organization is working closely with the Galapagos National Park Directorate, Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) in every step – from planning to execution and data analysis. Ecuador is a member of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific – a regional agency tasked with developing a regional Plan of Action for Sharks that integrates national plans, with a focus on transboundary species. The research team is part of a regional network (http://www.migramar.org), which has a seat on the CPPS Shark Committee. All relevant results and ensuing recommendations will be presented at meetings of this Committee and used in the development of the regional Plan of Action.

Outreach and education were core components of the expedition. Chris Fischer and the science team spoke at 2 local schools and 2 sharks were named after the schools: Oswaldo Guayasamin and Tomas de Berlanga, so they had their own sharks to follow. Tomas de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama, is credited with discovering Galapagos Islands in 1535. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuador’s most famous painter and sculptor was a voice for the poor and dispossessed in Latin America, and received the UNESCO International Jose Marti Prize after his death in 1999.

The Global Shark Tracker is a web-based near real time satellite tracking tool for sharks that will eventually be expanded to other species. …

To stay updated on the daily activities, visit www.OCEARCH.org where you can see the daily Expedition Blog, experience the Global Shark Tracker and see all social media links.

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Florida great white shark research


This video is called Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Great White Sharks.

From The Florida Times-Union in the USA:

Scientists track great white sharks off Fla.

By MATT SOERGEL

Published: January 20, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – The search for great white sharks just off the coast of Jacksonville is about to get a lot more serious.

By the end of this month, the University of North Florida‘s shark-­research program expects to place as many as 10 sensors in the Atlantic.

The devices will be near the beach, perhaps a half-mile or mile from the sand. The great whites come in close.

The nonprofit shark research group Ocearch last January tracked a 16½-foot great white named Mary Lee in the surf zone in Jacksonville Beach.

They then brought their research vessel on an expedition to Jacksonville and caught and tagged 14-foot Lydia. Meanwhile, the satellite tag on Katharine showed that shark hanging around near Cape Canaveral.

GPS devices, caught by satellite every time they rise to the surface, track the Ocearch sharks.

The sensors store information but can’t transmit it instantly; it will have to wait until researchers travel to them and download the data.

Jim Gelsleichter, a shark expert at UNF, said his school’s sensors will most likely be attached to buoys in Nassau Sound, Fort George Inlet, the Mayport area, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine.

Chris Fischer, founder of Ocearch, is on an expedition in the Galapagos Islands. He said he was “thrilled” by the new sensors off Jacksonville, calling them a crucial link in researchers’ understanding of great whites.

Placing the sensors close to shore is a big plus, too, Fischer said. The tracking devices show some great whites spend much more time poking into inlets and cruising along beaches than was once believed.

“What’s really surprised us is the coastal portion of their life, which particularly seems significant in the Southeast,” he said.

Ocearch’s high-profile spottings of great whites in the area created a buzz. Mary Lee, a celebrity shark, even has a Facebook page.

It’s unclear whether there are more great whites off Jacksonville.

“Finding white sharks is tough,” said Greg Skomal, a shark expert at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries who accompanies the Ocearch vessel on its expedition to Jacksonville. “Counting them is even tougher.”

But Skomal said there has definitely been a big rebound in the great white population off Cape Cod.

Thanks to tracking devices implanted in Cape Cod sharks, scientists know they frequently range as far south as Florida. So it seems likely that more Cape Cod sharks equals more Florida sharks.

“I don’t think it’s any reason to run up and down the beach screaming,” UNF’s Gelsleichter said. “But the scientist in me is curious about it.”

Gelsleichter, an assistant professor of biology, has been fascinated by sharks since he saw “Jaws” at age 6.

He’s now directing the university’s Shark Biology Program, which studies the many species of sharks in the area. Great whites, the apex predator of the ocean, attract the most media attention, even if they’re not much of a threat to humans on the East Coast.

In July 2012, a swimmer was bitten off Cape Cod and survived; that was the first great white shark injury there in 75 years, Gelsleichter said.

Meanwhile, the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History said there has not been a single documented instance in Florida’s recorded history of a great white attacking a human.

Scientists once thought the animals summered off Cape Cod and wintered in the Southeast, a pretty simple pattern.

But it looks now that they’re off the Southeast coast, even during warmer months. “We’re seeing good evidence to show that the animals are not just winter residents,” Gelsleichter said.

UNF’s devices will be able to pick up any of the Ocearch-tagged sharks, along with about 20 others tagged by harpooners off Cape Cod. Each shark emits a distinct signal, so scientists will be able to identify and track each one.

UNF already has three devices working, but they’re at popular diving spots far offshore. They picked up the presence of two great whites last winter.

Much remains to be learned about the travel patterns and life cycles of the great white.

“I think definitely that we’re an important part of the puzzle,” Gelsleichter said.

After lingering off the Volusia County coast for about a month, Katharine, a 2,300-pound great white shark, moved north this week, but only to Flagler County: here.

Great white sharks live much, much longer than we thought and that has huge implications for conservation efforts: here.

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Basking shark near Dutch coast


This video is called Scotland’s Basking Sharks.

Today, Pim Wolf from the Netherlands reports that a basking shark swims about 800 meter from the coast of Westkapelle in Zeeland province.

People estimate this basking shark is seven meter long. This species is not often seen in the North Sea.

Basking shark skull found in North Sea: here.

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