Mote scientists do groundbreaking research on great white sharks - WRBL

Mote scientists do groundbreaking research on great white sharks

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Photo: OCEARCH Facebook Photo: OCEARCH Facebook
SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) -

For the past year, Mote Marine scientists have made all new discoveries about great white sharks.

In 2014, researchers from Mote teamed up with scientists from around the world to tag great white sharks in the Atlantic. The project was led by a group called OCEARCH.

Related: Katharine heads north, pinging outside Boynton Beach

Satellite tracking tags were attached to a number of Great Whites - including a shark popular to Florida waters, Katharine - and now their migration patterns are being studied. Since then, scientists have been in awe.

Dr. Robert Hueter from Mote Marine Lab says they are observing strange patterns that scientists have never seen before.

"People are going to say the scientists appear to be baffled! Yeah, I guess we're baffled," he said.

He says some sharks have migrated south into the Gulf during the warm summer months.

Dr. Hueter is especially interested in the shark named Katharine. In the heat of summer, she's been hanging around the warm waters of south Florida.

Dr. Hueter said, "She's in this very hot water now which is interesting because you thought they'd be fairly temperate water animal, even cool water animals."

Another shark named Betsy has been swimming in the same region, too.

Hueter believes both Katharine and Betsy are pregnant.

“This is brand new information. Are they coming down here to give birth to their young or at least, gestate?” he asked.

For years, scientists assumed Great White sharks gave birth farther north, and it was always believed the sharks would stay in cooler waters during the heat of summer.

Test Yourself: How well do you know Florida sharks?

But that's not all. Over the course of this project scientists have seen a number of sharks going to all sorts of different places.

In the dead of winter, scientists tracked a shark swimming toward frigid New England. And earlier this year, researchers saw a shark swim into the mid-Atlantic toward Europe - something that had never been seen before.

There are around 40 different scientific studies tied to this work by OCEARCH.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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