How old is a ping?
A 'Ping' is determined when the tagged shark's dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water and transmits a signal to a satellite overhead. The transmission then sends back an estimated geo-location.
Less than 30 days
More than 30 days
Welcome to OCEARCH's Global Shark Tracker, Powered by Cat. where you can observe the navigational pattern of sharks that have been tagged with satellite tracking technology all for the purpose of shark conservation.
OCEARCH is a non-profit organization with a global reach for unprecedented research on great white sharks and other large apex predators. In a collaborative environment established by Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer, OCEARCH enables leading researchers and institutions to generate previously unattainable data on the movement, biology and health of sharks to protect their future while enhancing public safety and education.
OCEARCH expeditions - through the support of Caterpillar and other partners such as Costa, Yeti, Yamaha, Contender, SAFE boats and Mustad - generate satellite tracks and other forms of data for sharks, with planned expansion to other species in the future. Seventeen research expeditions have been conducted to date, with seven more scheduled through the end of 2015. Learn more at ocearch.org
What does OCEARCH do that is so unique?
OCEARCH enables the brightest scientists in the world by giving them approximately 15 minutes of access to live, mature great white sharks (and other species) to conduct up to 12-14 different studies including tagging and sampling. OCEARCH captures mature sharks that can range between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds on average, maneuvers them onto a 75,000 lb. custom lift, then releases the shark after researchers have completed their 15 minutes of work. The shark is guided by hand in the water on and off the lift. See an example from start to finish: great white shark Lydia. OCEARCH is a leader in collaborative open source research, sharing scientific data and dynamic education content in near-real time for free to the public through the Global Shark Tracker, enabling students and the public to learn alongside PhDs.
Why is the research important?
Global conservation and public safety requires data that does not currently exist.
What happens with the studies?
There are approximately 40 research papers currently in preparation or completed based on OCEARCH expeditions and resulting studies. The studies, upon publishing, become a basis for enabling informed policy and management decisions.
Where does the Education Curriculum fit in?
A STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Curriculum has been developed for OCEARCH by Landry’s, using the Global Shark Tracker as a learning tool for teaching an extensive range of lesson plans ranging from Geography to Physics. See an example of OCEARCH visiting a school here: Kids Sharks and OCEARCH
When will the Curriculum roll out?
30 lesson plans for grade 6-8 are rolling out in the fall of 2013. The curriculum will eventually expand to K-12 and then pre-K.
Where does Caterpillar Fit in?
Through a multi-year partnership, Caterpillar enables the MV OCEARCH to execute expeditions anywhere in the world that scientists have a need for access to mature marine apex predators to fill knowledge gaps. The M/V OCEARCH vessel is powered by 5 Caterpillar engines including two Cat 3412 mains and three Cat (4.4, 6.6) generators.
What do you mean when you say that great white sharks are the balance keepers of the ocean and apex predators?
An Apex Predator is a top predator in the food web. As top predators, great white sharks are the lions of the sea. They help maintain ecosystem balance. To remove top predators would result in disrupting the delicate balance of the food web.
Does the capture method impact the shark’s health?
Scientific data from blood obtained from sharks on the lift show that they are minimally stressed compared to other shark species caught using other methods. Data from the accelerometers show that the animals regularly recover and start swimming strongly within 2-4 hours after release. Data from the Global Shark Tracker provides strong evidence that the animals tagged using this method show long-term survival and long-distance migrations indicative of normal function and reproductive cycles.
Does the tagging installation cause pain?
While this tagging method, which has been used on sharks and other species for over a half century may cause some level of brief discomfort, there is no evidence that it impacts their behavior or survival post-release.
Does the tag cause damage to the fin over a long period of time?
There is no evidence that tags impact behavior or survival post-release. White sharks commonly endure substantial injuries in their day-to-day lives from interacting with large prey and other sharks. Many sharks we encounter have misshapen fins and body scars indicating serious injuries from other animals in the wild.
Does the method alter their behavior?
Data from the accelerometers show that the animals recover and start swimming strongly within 2-4 hours after release. Data from the Global Shark Tracker provides strong evidence that the animals tagged using this method show long-term survival and long-distance migrations indicative of normal function and reproductive cycles.
Do the sharks take off from the area after being tagged?
There is no way to study the movements of an untagged shark. Some sharks leave the area but other sharks stay nearby for extended periods after tagging. Data from the Global Shark Tracker shows that these animals will frequently switch from a pattern of relatively restricted movement to long-distance migrations repeatedly, even without a tagging event….
How many pups do White Sharks give birth to at a time?
Two to 10, possibly up to fourteen.
What is the average size of a pup?
Total length: 135-151 cm or 4.4-5.0 ft.
Does OCEARCH decide how sharks are handled?
The tagging, handling and sampling procedures employed during the expedition follow the standards of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC.org) of each institution, which are made up of scientists and veterinarians.
Can you successfully obtain the necessary amount of data from an alternate means of study (methodology)?
No, the technologies and methods used represent the least invasive means of obtaining the data necessary to fill knowledge gaps regarding mature (large) sharks. The majority of studies conducted on each shark could not be conducted on a free-swimming shark.
Why do some sharks have more pings than others on the Tracker?
Sharks each have their own habits in terms of how much time they spend at the surface. For example, depth data from Mary Lee's accelerometer showed she spent about 8.62 minutes per hour near the surface in the first few hours after release. Genie spent 0.45 min/hr near the surface, and Lydia spent 4.85 min/hr near the surface. That behavior held up over time, if you look at the Tracker you can see Mary Lee’s significant surface time (where satellites could pick up her transmitter) versus Genie who spends far less time on the surface.
How long do white sharks live?
New evidence indicates that white sharks live more than 70 years in the North Atlantic.
What happens to the data you’ve collected?
The data is shared in an open source environment with collaborating institutions who utilize it to conduct studies that are eventually published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The papers, which can take 2-5 years to publish, are utilized to assist in policy decisions. The data is also shared with all PhD candidates who request it.
Are you doing another TV series?
No we have no current plans for series TV. We are instead sharing with the world in near-real time.
How long does a shark need to surface in order to get a ping?
The SPOT tag wet/dry switch needs to be dry for a minimum of 90 seconds during which 3 consecutive pings must occur to get an accurate geo-position.
How old do female white sharks need to be to give birth?
Mid to late 20’s.
What do white sharks eat?
The diet of white sharks up until 3 meters in length is dominated by fish, after which they go through a dietary shift to larger prey including marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and whale carcasses.
What is a Z-ping?
'Class Z' indicates that the shark reported in, but did not surface long enough to obtain a location.
Shark populations worldwide are under threat - sharks are being slaughtered at an unsustainable rate, many for a bowl of soup. This unsustainable harvest rate driven by the demand for shark fins, meat and other products puts not only sharks at risk, but also the entire balance of the ocean. Sharks play a crucial role of maintaining balance in the delicate oceanic ecosystem as they have an effect on all levels in the food web below them. The navigational and migratory data being collected from OCEARCH will be used to support and devise successful conservation and management strategies which will affect policy for global change. Conserving sharks is a global conservation priority and devising successful conservation and management strategies is largely limited by our scientific knowledge on their biology and life history. Significant information is lacking with regard to the medium and long range movement patterns of white sharks. Traditional research has focused on fine small scale movements of white sharks within known aggregation sites. Gaining this previously unattainable information enables more effective shark and ocean conservation.
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