Scientists from the UW and WHOI are teaming with swordfish experts and Wildlife Computers to catch, tag, and track the location and diving depth of swordfish. Swordfish are an ideal oceanographic platform to study the ocean twilight zone, home to the largest biomass of fish on the planet.
Swordfish as oceanographers? Satellite tags allow research of ocean’s ‘twilight zone’ off Florida
Trip report on a scientific tagging expedition to the Red Sea of Saudi Arabia, where we outfitted the first pelagic thresher shark with a satellite tag in the Indian Ocean and the first billfish (a sailfish) with a satellite tag in the Red Sea.
Great white sharks dive deep into warm-water whirlpools in the Atlantic, UW News, 18 June 2018: It’s always good to know where great white sharks are likely to be swimming. That’s true if you’re a nervous beachgoer, a fishing boat trying to avoid illegal bycatch, or a marine biologist hoping to conserve this vulnerable species.
Sharks Take ‘Tunnels’ into the Depths, Oceanus Magazine, 23 July 2018: As the Gulf Stream current curves away from North America and heads east across the Atlantic, it swirls at its edges. If one of these swirls is large enough, it will pinch off, sending a whirling pocket of water—more than 60 miles in diameter—spinning through the ocean like an underwater hurricane.
The Deep-Sea Adventures of Lydia the Great White Shark, Hakai Magazine, 6 July 2018: On a July morning in 2013, a great white shark named Lydia was swimming across the North Atlantic Ocean. As the sun rose over the waves, she made an abrupt descent into the abyss. She dove down, deeper and deeper, until she reached her destination a kilometer beneath the surface. Lydia swam to the very bottom of the mesopelagic, a cold, twilight realm where little light penetrates, yet life still teems.
Great white sharks like to hang out in ocean eddies, new study says, Boston Globe, 19 June 2018: Great white sharks like to hang out deep in anticyclonic, or clockwise-spinning, eddies in the North Atlantic Ocean, according to new research from the University of Washington and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “Our leading hypothesis is these warm eddies are a refuge for them. They can feed longer at depth,” said Peter Gaube, a senior oceanographer in the Applied Physics Lab at the university. The new research was published in May in the journal Scientific Reports.
Why Great White Sharks Hang Out in Warm Whirlpools, National Geographic, 19 June 2018: New research helps shed light on both questions. In a study published recently in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists tracked two female great whites—popularly known as Mary Lee and Lydia—using advanced satellite tags in the western Atlantic. The team found that when the animals head to the open ocean, they spend much of their time diving within warm circular currents, known as anticyclonic eddies. Overall, the animals could be found within these whirlpool-like gyres more than three-fourths of the time.
Sea turtles don’t just go with the flow, Physics Today, 22 Mar 2017: loggerhead sea turtles trajectory in the southwestern Atlantic ocean is correlated to the presence of eddies in a study that showed the animals preferred the interior of anticyclonic eddies generally low in chlorophyll concentration.
There’s a good reason great white sharks swim towards hurricanes, Business Insider, 2 Aug 2016: an article featured in Business Insider discussing the possible use of warm core eddies by great white sharks in the north Atlantic region to feed or help regulate their body temperature. These observations were the first of their kind as top predators were previously thought to favor the periphery of eddies rather than their interior to prey. (Also appears in Inside Science on 14 Mar 2016)
Great white sharks as oceanographic research platforms, YouTube, 3 May 2016: short video produced and edited by the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington that explains how and why great white sharks are used as a research platforms and what we can learn from it.