Using cutting-edge satellite and acoustic technology, and just in time for Shark Week 2018, a researcher from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is among a team of scientists who are the first to confirm the movement patterns and seasonal migrations of baby white sharks in the north Atlantic Ocean. Until now, there has been little information on their habitat during this vulnerable early stage of life.
Baby white sharks have frequently been observed in the New York Bight along the Atlantic coast of the United States from Cape May Inlet in New Jersey to Montauk Point on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York. Scientists believe that the New York Bight may serve an important “nursery” role off Long Island.
However, for an area to be considered a shark nursery, data must show that baby sharks are more frequently encountered in the area as compared to other areas; that they use the area repeatedly over years; and that they demonstrate residency within the area for extended periods. For the New York Bight, scientists have only been able to prove the first two criteria, and many basic questions about baby white sharks’ distribution, movements, and habitat-use have remained unanswered.
In a study published in Scientific Reports , Matt Ajemian, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at FAU’s Harbor Branch and a former Long Island resident, and collaborators from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries, OCEARCH and others, put the New York Bight shark nursery theory to test by deploying satellite and acoustic tags on 10 baby white sharks (less than 1 year old) off Long Island’s coast. Their habitat use was monitored and characterized based on bathymetry, sea surface temperature, and distance from shore. Read More...