If you’re like millions of vacationers, you’ll be heading to the beach to enjoy the last few weeks of summer. But while you’re splashing and playing in the surf, you might be thinking about sharks. After all, from Sharknado to Shark Week, sharks have taken a big bite into our collective psyche and refuse to let go. It’s no wonder you might be a little concerned.
Fortunately, there’s an app for that. Thanks to an unprecedented research initiative with nonprofit OCEARCH, whose mission is to generate previously unattainable data on the movement, biology and health of sharks to protect their future while enhancing public safety and education, biologists are tagging sharks with GPS devices and making that data publicly available on the web — and on your smartphone.
Vacationers and shark spectators alike can track the whereabouts of Jaimie, a female immature tiger shark tagged off the coast of Montauk, NY, or Katherine, a white shark tagged in the waters off Cape Cod.
— Chris Fischer (@ChrisOCEARCH) August 11, 2014
You can also check the profiles and latest stats for each shark. Since being tagged in January, 2014, blacktip shark Floreana has traveled nearly 2,000 miles around the Galapagos Islands in South America. But that’s nothing compared to Genie, a mature white shark, who’s piloted her 14’ 8” one-ton body nearly 5,000 miles along the East Coast in several trips from Florida to Massachusetts since researchers tagged her in September, 2012. Big Kahuna, a nearly 7-foot tiger shark, has been sending back his location to researchers as well:
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) August 10, 2014
Many of the sharks are named for, or by, famous people. Pablo, a Mako shark tagged in Chile, is named after Pablo Neruda, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Another Mako, shark Cate Ells, was named by Wendy Benchley — whose late husband wrote the bestseller Jaws — in honor of her two granddaughters. Another, tiger shark Fritz, is named after Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings who supported conservation and the creation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Be Prepared. Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team