Researchers have located what they believe to be the greatest discovery they have ever made!
After 26 expeditions, the research team at OCEARCH, an ocean research nonprofit organization, says it has found evidence of what the researchers describe as a great white shark “nursery” off the coast of Montauk, Long Island. Chris Fisher, the founding chairman of OCEARCH, is labeling this the greatest discovery he and his team have ever made on the ocean.
While great white sharks certainly do not look peaceful or motherly by any means, research is starting to suggest otherwise. The team discovered a “nursery,” where the mother sharks deliver pups, alive and fully formed.
Fisher told CBS News during an interview that birthing locations for great white sharks are often regarded as the “holy grail of research.” In the Atlantic Ocean, where the sharks are more prone to becoming victims of by-catch and sport fishing, this find is of utmost importance to the research community.
This special location made it possible for the team to capture nine sharks in just one week (talk about “Shark Week”)! When they noticed that most of the animals they were seeing were pups, they knew that the area was something special.
OCEARCH is a huge contributor in the field of great white tracking, monitoring several dozen individual sharks as they travel throughout the oceans of the world. To follow the sharks in real time, the team outfits them with special fin tags which can transmit tracking information for up to a decade before eventually breaking down.
The team hopes to discover whether any of these young sharks are the offspring of the other sharks they’ve tagged near Cape Cod. While much research is being done on mature adult sharks, very little is known about great white juveniles. In fact, it was only this year that the first ever great white pup was tagged. Since they are so hard to find, it has been very difficult for the group to complete any serious studies. But if the scientists are right, that’s about to change.
Visit OCEARCH.org to learn more about OCEARCH and their cutting-edge research into the habits of great white sharks.