Tagged TOPP

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).