Mote Marine Laboratory: Great White Sharks
This project took advantage of a unique opportunity presented by the conservation group Ocearch to participate in an expedition to tag great white sharks with acceleration data loggers (ADLs) off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. ADLs use the same cutting-edge technology found in the iPhone and other modern electronics to record fine-scale movements of wild animals. The Principal Investigator and Ocearch team successfully tagged two great whites with ADLs and satellite tags in August 2013: a 14 ft, 2,300-pound female nicknamed Katharine, and a 12.5 ft, 1,400-pound female named Betsy.
Because these tags are re-useable multiple times if they are recovered (and they must be recovered to download the data), Mote Marine Laboratory has been able to expand their study to other large shark species in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, including sandbar (Carcharhinus plumbeus), tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier), and bull (C. leucas) sharks. Tags stayed on the animals for an average of 46 hours, recording ~8.5 million data points per day. These easily represent the largest acceleration data sets ever obtained for these species.