From June 2011

Census finds West Coast may be hotspot for top ocean predators

great white shark photo
The great white shark was one of 23 species tracked by the TOPP study.

The Washington Post reports that The Census of Marine Life’s Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) project reveals that a region of the eastern Pacific Ocean just off the West Coast may be one the top "hotspot" for open ocean predators. The study, which involved researchers from five different countries, was recently published online at the journal of Nature.

The study tracked movement patterns of 23 species of ocean predators. Notable data included an elephant seal diving to a depth of 5,492 ft, and shearwater seabirds traveling over 39,790 miles over the course of 262 days. However, it was the nutrient rich waters of the California Current that garnered the most attention in the Post article, due to the fact that draws various marine animals from far and wide to a common meeting place. In the spring months, turtles, whales, sharks, tuna, and seabirds from throughout the Pacific converge off the West Coast to partake in the "nutrient upwelling."

For more information, check out the Washington Post article, and read the Nature journal article (PDF).

Field and Stream feature with dramatic white shark breach photos

Field and Stream posted a new online article yesterday featuring some dramatic great white shark breaching photos. The photos were taken by Mike Rutzen and his crew off the coast of South Africa. A seal decoy was used to lure the sharks into breaching for the photo ops. The article features some background information about Rutzen. A majority of the photos are credited to Sara Andreotti of Rutzen’s Shark Diving Unlimited.

You can check out the white shark photos and article at Field and Stream.

Video: Australia’s Ten News feature on great white sharks

Australia’s Ten recently added this feature to their YouTube channel. The report touches the last month’s “great white sharks are fans of AC/DC” claim, and compares the methods of attracting sharks using sound versus chumming. The story also brings up the debate about chumming (or burleying) for white sharks, which has been a controversial subject in South Australia.

Cape Cod gray seals victims of something other than white sharks

A New York Time article reports that at least six gray seals have been dead along Cape Cod beaches, and great white sharks have been ruled out as potential suspects. The seal carcasses were found with gunshot wounds to the head. While speculation about the motivation behind the seal killings runs fairly rampant in the article, investigators don’t seem to have much in the way of leads on who is responsible for the shootings.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare is offering a $5,000 reward for information on the shootings, and two other anonymous groups have each offered additional rewards of $2,500, bringing the total to $10,000 in reward money. The New York Times reports that the sum of reward money is "nearly $15,000."

It is a federal crime to harass or injure gray seals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

NatGeo Wild’s Killer Shots: Great White Ambush

NatGeo Wild has released a promotional clip for their upcoming “Killer Shots: Great White Ambush”. The show will follow videographer/photographer Andy Casagrande as he attempts to film great white shark predation events (Carcharodon carcharias) around South Africa’s False Bay. The area is home to a large population of cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus), which are natural prey for white sharks.

The promotional clip features footage of white shark breaches and evasive maneuvers by fur seals that manage to escape becoming a white shark’s next meal. The clip also provides some background information on white shark ambush techniques, along with the seals’ means and methods of avoiding shark attacks. However, the primary focus of the show seems to be on the planning and research performed in order to “get the shot.”

“Killer Shots: Great White Ambush” airs July 8 at 10pm ET/PT on NatGeo Wild.