Researchers have always been fascinated by white shark behavior. Thanks to the latest technological development, scientists may now monitor the great white activity 24/7.
There is a place between Hawaii and the West Coast known as ‘White Shark Cafe,’ where sharks spend a couple of months every year. Experts have not been able to find out why sharks go there and what are they doing during this period.
According to marine biologist Sal Jorgensen, a researcher from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, it is suspected that great whites might mate and feed during the time spent at the cafe and after they leave the coastal islands of California.
Marine biologists have investigated the mysterious area, and they found out that there are little food sources, so it is less likely that sharks go there to hunt for prey. In other words, researchers concluded that great whites probably go to the cafe to mate.
Dr. Jorgensen called for the help of a team of engineers, who manufactured a new video camera which is likely to be the most durable device ever build. By attaching it to the dorsal of the white shark, experts can now monitor every single movement of this mysterious species.
The camera is built to resist in the worst ocean environment, as it measures shark’s travel speed, temperature, light, depth. Also, it remains attached to the great white for nine months until it automatically releases itself in the ocean sending a signal through to the satellite so that researchers can identify its location to get it and analyze the footage.
According to Thom Maughan, research institute software engineer who build the prototype, the camera is equipped with a battery capable of recording up to 10 hours even in the pitch black darkness. It also has a storage system and internal data processing. Plus, it can resist to high pressure.
Now, scientists will be able to witness the great white’s journey from the California coast to the cafe and back. White sharks are known to spend six months on the coast of California hunting seals and sea lions. Until 2002 researchers had no idea where sharks migrate after leaving the coast waters.
The aquarium has recently released the first white shark footage recorded by testing cameras taken back from tagged sharks in the Farallon Islands. The team of researchers plans to use the camera to monitor a few white shark specimens starting from December this year.