Tagged Great White Shark Takes 19,500-mile Ocean Journey
Photo credit: OCEARCH-Robert Snow
Lydia, a 2,000-pound great white shark, broke scientific records this week when she was tracked swimming across the mid-Atlantic ridge - the first trans-Atlantic journey documented for her species.
Dr. Robert Hueter of Mote Marine Laboratory knows Lydia well - he collected biological samples from her during an expedition led by OCEARCH in March 2013 off Jacksonville, Fla. Lydia was lifted out of the water by a special platform aboard the M/V OCEARCH, where a team of scientists had a unique opportunity to work with her. Dr. Nick Whitney of Mote tagged Lydia for a short time with a fine-scale motion sensor, which showed that she was swimming strongly after release, and Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries fitted her with a long-lasting satellite transmitter to monitor her position.
Since then, Lydia has truly impressed the team of scientists who joined the OCEARCH expedition.
Departing Jacksonville, she swam northeast in a winding course of 19,500 miles, and on March 9 she crossed the mid-Atlantic ridge - a boundary between tectonic plates running roughly down the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
Early on the morning of March 11, Lydia remained in the open ocean between Ireland and Canada.
"Lydia's remarkable trans-ocean journey reminds us that no one locality, state or nation owns these remarkable migrators of the sea," said Hueter, Director of Mote's Center for Shark Research. "If we are to save the sharks, we have an obligation not only to protect them in our waters, but also to work with other countries towards global conservation of sharks."
Track Lydia via the OCEARCH website: http://www.ocearch.org/.