Ocean News

Project blog roundup – Nov 10

10th November 2010

Every week, starting today, we’ll be posting a summary of a few of the most interesting recent project blog posts . So without further ado, here are the highlights of what our project leaders have been up to:

Have you ever wanted to see things from a shark’s point of view? Our White Sharks research project in South Africa will have the opportunity, through a collaboration with the National Geographic Society and the City of Cape Town, to attach a Crittercam to various white sharks in the area. This will help researchers learn more about why these sharks aggregate in this particular area (Fish Hoek) during the summer, which is especially relevant given that the Shark Spotters have recorded 13 shark sightings there within the past 6 days.

Given that Fish Hoek is a popular area for water sports as well as the location of two fatal shark attacks, we’re particularly interested in the issues that would help us better understand, and limit, future attacks. Are the sharks hunting fish or other prey in the area? How are the sharks using the area? Are they swimming near the bottom? The Crittercam has the potential of providing us with novel information on their behavior in these areas.

On a more somber note, Rob Sams of the Shark Riddle project has posted a disturbing image of a a California sea lion with a ring of fishing line wrapped around its neck, cutting into the blubbery tissue around its neck as the animal has grown. As Rob himself puts it best:

"It is always difficult to watch animals suffer, especially in such a seemingly needless way. And unfortunately, this is not an uncommon sight along our shorelines. It is hard for wildlife to avoid the booby traps of mankind, and stories like this play out all over the world in an amazing variety of ways. Albatross are accidentally killing their chicks by feeding them plastic debris. Sea turtles mistake plastic bags for tasty jellyfish – a mistake even I have made. Once, while filming off the coast of Florida, I carefully positioned myself below a jellyfish so that it was backlit against the suns rays. It really was a beautiful moment, until I realized the jellyfish was a plastic sandwich bag. My point is, wild animals aren’t stupid. Humans are just very good at killing things – even when we don’t try."