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Scientists have been tracking sharks for years with hopes of learning new information on how these sharks live and what aspects of their environment influence their behaviors. Tagged in Bermuda in 2014, a tiger shark nicknamed “Andy” by Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) has traveled over 37,560 miles throughout a territory ranging from the United States east coast and around Bermuda, to the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos. As a result, Andy has become the longest tracked tiger shark in the world, without showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.

Andy has been tracked for over 1240 days, which equates to roughly three and a half years. The tiger shark’s impressive trek during that time has revealed some distinct and repetitive patterns in seasonal shark migrations (namely between the summer and winter). Andy is just one of over 150 sharks that have been tagged by the GHRI over the last decade that include species (in addition to tiger sharks) like oceanic whitetips, makos, and reef sharks—just to mention a few.

The data researchers collect goes toward studying migration patterns. GHRI researchers have been very pleased with how long Andy has reported data, which has provided invaluable insight on the focus of their studies. Being able to track migration patterns of sharks like Andy for long periods of time enable researchers to gain a better understanding of their behavior and habitat utilization, thus improving their knowledge on how to manage these marine species. You can even track tagged sharks of the GHRI online in near real time.

According to a previous publication, tiger shark migrations are heavily influenced by factors like a shark’s physical characteristics (size, age), and environmental variations (water temperature, prey availability). The study not only reveals the environmental factors behind these migrations by tiger sharks, but also point out how different sharks behave based on age group. Important information like this could prompt fishery managers to reevaluate the best ways to protect near-threatened species like tiger sharks, how to further boost recovery efforts of shark numbers in certain areas, and improve the conservation of currently endangered species.

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