Tracking the Secret Lives of Great White Sharks
J Thoendell stashed this in Maps
Thorrold pulled up the data that Mary Lee has been pinging back for the past year.
The display revealed a true ocean wanderer. Her track resembled a drunkard’s walk around the entire North Atlantic. After her capture off of Cape Cod, Mary Lee’s pings led the researchers to Jacksonville in March where Ocearch, a research nonprofit, caught and tagged another mature female, Lydia, plying the murky, dolphin-stocked waters at the mouth of the St. John’s River.
The data transmitted from these two sharks in the past year has been a revelation. Skomal and Thorrold are looking for patterns that might reveal something about the animals’ lifestyle. It has been nearly four decades since a creaky animatronic shark terrorized movie audiences and Amity Island inJaws, but the lives of the Atlantic great whites still remain, for the most part, a mystery.
The researchers are searching for recurring tracks and well-trod patches of ocean that might illuminate important nurseries, breeding or feeding grounds, information that could lead to eventual conservation measures. But so far the data has been frustratingly — even thrillingly — erratic.