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Shark Science

Great White Shark RFID/Satellite Tracking Shows Long Journeys, Many Beach Visits 86

Lucas123 writes "Marine biologists from OCEARCH, a non-profit shark research project, have been tagging scores of great whites and other shark species with an array of wireless technologies, gathering granular data on the sharks over the past year or more. For example, Mary Lee, a great white shark that's the same weight and nearly the same length as a Buick, was tagged off of Cape Cod and has made beach visits up and down the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda. She came so close to beaches that the research team alerted local authorities. The team attaches an array of acoustic and satellite tags as well as accelerometers to the sharks, which collect more than 100 data points every second — 8.5 million data points per day. The data has provided a detailed, three-dimensional view of the shark's behavior, which the team has been sharing in real time on its website. OCEARCH plans to expand that data sharing over the next few weeks to social networks and classrooms."
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Great White Shark RFID/Satellite Tracking Shows Long Journeys, Many Beach Visits

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  • Just curious.

    I'm not looking for a sideline as I don't know how to swim; or at least, there is no evidence that I know how to swim.

    • scif channel can use extras in a B movie with sharks.

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      perfect, you can help bring them for tagging, by trying desperately to swim

      • I guess that Shark Psychology is not a subject thats been studied much due to the intractability of the subjects and difficulty of objectively assessing their actions. Is it at all possible, however, that either by electromagnetic or psychological effects the tagging of a shark changes its behaviour? It strikes me that all the data discussed in the article is info about sharks that have been tagged by people.
    • Depends. How well can you write a research grant proposal?
  • ...before they start doing this to us!

    +1 for Paranoia.

  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward


  • I want to say something witty funny or insightful but this is just cool.
  • How long before the Federal Government mandates such granular tracking on vehicles, guns, kitchen knives, and people?

    • People? Under what rock have you been hiding for the last 10 years or so? It's called a cellphone, nowadays it's even worse with a smartphone, always on, any app can query the wifis nearby or even the GPS...
      • The rock next to my cabin in the mountains which is 60 miles from the nearest wireless transmission tower.


  • by CCarrot (1562079) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @02:43PM (#44699447)

    It's like convention goers at Vegas cruising the all-you-can-eat buffets..."I don't like the quality of mammals at this beach, honey, they taste too gamey. How about we try that cozy little cove over there instead?"

    • Of COURSE they're visiting the beach over and over - they're trying to track down the damn humans that put tracking tags in their dorsal fins!

  • swallow you whole.

    what., you didn't think I would go with the bigger boat quote, did you?

  • Think of all the disasters that the research team averted by alerting authorities that a shark was close to the shore! It would have been a blood bath for sure!

    • by breeze95 (880714)

      Think of all the disasters that the research team averted by alerting authorities that a shark was close to the shore! It would have been a blood bath for sure!

      You think that is the only Great White shark that is patrolling the East Coast? You think that they have tagged all the Great White sharks that patrols the East Coast? I'm sure many untagged Great White sharks came close to beaches along the East Coast that authorities and beach goers are unaware of.

      • by giarcgood (857371)

        You think that is the only Great White shark that is patrolling the East Coast?

        I looked at it and thought "Cool, the East Coast (of Australia) is safe. There are no Great Whites at all." Then I thought like you, maybe they dont have them all.

      • Wait... you mean this isn't the only shark in the ocean? Someone should tell the researchers!

  • by Scutter (18425) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @02:54PM (#44699547) Journal

    I think it's amazing how far-ranging the sharks are. It's interesting that it swims in a wide circle that includes Bermuda. How did it navigate to the island? How did it find its way back to the mainland? I would have expected a much more meandering course, but it's almost like it made a bee-line for it and then another bee-line back to the coast, but in the opposite direction.

  • sharkdotted
    • Hi Ovidius, Sysadmin here for http://sharks-ocearch.verite.com./ [sharks-oce...verite.com] I'm so sorry for the congestion. I've brought some extra capacity online just for you, and the site is becoming responsive again. If you could just let me know how many friends you'll be bringing to site that would be great ;)
      • Cool site. Thanks about the extra capacity and sorry about the traffic. You run a LAMP stack on Debian Squeeze at Rackspace from what i see. Anything special in your setup?
        • Oh, just the usual duct tape and toasters :) This is definitely a site that's gotten way more popularity and attention that we ever anticipated. Thanks again for stopping by!
  • by ithinkurokayiguess (3033399) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @03:05PM (#44699667)
    I love you guys. I'm spinning up extra capacity for sharks-ocearch.verite.com as we speak. So sorry for the slowness. Thanks for stopping by!
    • by GLHMarmot (124846)

      Well done, sysadmin! Three minutes ago, nothing. Now a nice quick page! What did you do to increase capacity? Were you already on a cluster or did you increase a VMs memory or CPU?

    • Most of those locations [verite.com] appear to be near the shore, only if you define "near" as "within a few miles".

      However, I did notice rather a lot of dots clustered around Mossel Bay, South Africa [wikipedia.org], including one that was so close that I could still see it on the map when zoomed in close enough to see individual houses. Yikes!

      I think the explanation is probably the Seal Preserve there. Seals are known to be the Great White's favorite food. After seeing that, if it were me, I'd consider avoiding any beach that has

  • These guys were in a documentary series "Shark Wranglers", shown a while back on cable.  They were hand tagging sharks on a platform, after hooking them on line with a large hunk of smelly fish on the hook.  Cool dudes doing pretty cool work.
  • "Buick" is a little vague... are we talking a 1975 Electra, or a 2012 Verano?
  • by tippe (1136385) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @03:22PM (#44699873)

    As is Radio-Fish Identification? Now that's just cool.

    PS: Before you tear me to pieces (ha, ha, ha, I kill me...), sharks are indeed considered fish, or so the internets tells me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Other tags include an RFID implant whose ping is picked up whenever the shark passes a special, underwater buoy

    As usual, science journalist make up stuff. There's nothing on the ocearch.org about RFID, because these ID tags don't use RF. They are acoustic tags. The popup dorsal fin transmitter uses RF, but only when it's above the water. Radio waves do not penetrate salt water far enough to be of any use.

  • by Shompol (1690084) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @03:41PM (#44700113)
    There is one dangrously close to Cape Cod beaches right now! [verite.com] Quick, call the authorities! Please disregard the fact that 99.99% of sharks is not tagged and there is a number of them near beaches at all times.
  • The size of a Buick? I've seen Buicks in China that were compact hatchbacks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Excelle_XT [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't know what size a Buick is having never seen one, being from 'the rest of the world'. Can we have a metric equivalent? Elephants, Panda, London Bus, Eiffel Tower, anchovy, red kidney bean, Austin Ambassador (British Leyland Princess, Y reg). Thanks
  • I'm glad they don't have the great whites tagged here
    • We do, check out Barbara Blocks's work. I set up an acoustic receiver for them in Monterey and we just got our first hit last week.
  • Outreach [xkcd.com].

    (I'm stunned nobody has posted this link before me.)

  • You should add frikkin lasers as well.

  • They should do this with whales as well, this would greatly improve the quality of Japanese whale 'research'!

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.