Wednesday, February 20, 2008

TOPP's White Sharks

You gotta hand it to the TOPP's people (Tagging of Pacific Predators). They recently announced new findings from over 100 high tech sat tags placed on white sharks all over the Pacific in 2006. This last year was one of the most ambitious tagging projects on record:

"Every winter the sharks leave California's coast for one of two destinations. A minority of sharks head to the Hawaiian Island chain. The majority, however, congregate in a part of the open ocean halfway from California and Hawaii, 1,300 miles from land. Researchers have yet to uncover what attracts the shark to this particular spot. During these journey the sharks will occasionally dive up to a quarter-mile beneath the surface and stay at this depth, where light barely penetrates, for hours. On returning to California, the sharks display remarkable site-fidelity, always heading to the same area of coast they left before. “These animals appear again and again at very specific areas,” Salvador Jorgensen says, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station and the Monterey Bay Aquarium".

Isla Guadalupe
island located in Mexico plays into this ongoing migration drama every year with animals returning every season after visiting the same sites as their California cousins. Making the Pacific a very small body of water after all.

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