Saturday, February 23, 2008

Isla Guadalupe Shark Science

Mauricio Hoyos, CICIMAR's white shark researcher at Isla Guadalupe, has one of the world's toughest jobs.

As the very first Mexican lead white shark tagging project at the island, his work will be the foundation of other projects to come. Already new, much broader, projects have been suggested with a strong chance of one starting in the fall of 2008.

This will be Maurico's final season at the island before he publishes his paper on the local movement patterns of gws.

From his groundbreaking work we discovered that gws feed almost exclusively on the endemic Guadalupe Fur Seal during the early morning and sunset hours.

It's not easy camping on this ancient volcanic island month after month, but with determination and a whole lot of help from some friends, he has become a local legend out there:

Megaladon-Huge Shark

Once a along time ago, about 16 millions years, our blue planet was infested with 52 foot long-40 ton white sharks. These massive predators, called Megladon, were themselves feeding on critters three to four times that size which had plated armor on the sides.

Man, don't you wish you had a titanium cage and a time machine right about now?

Anyway, we know these beasties existed because, like so called modern white sharks, they shed their teeth faster than you can pump nickels into a Vegas slot machine.

Those teeth fell to the bottom of the ocean where divers are still finding them today. One of our divers who joined at at Isla Guadalupe in 2003 showed us an 8 inch Meg tooth that was still sharp enough to cut steak, we know because we tried. Here's a video of a Meg tooth hunt sucess: