Sarasota scientists making new discoveries on Great White Sharks - WFLA News Channel 8

Sarasota scientists making new discoveries on Great White Sharks

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory are making groundbreaking research on Great White Sharks.  Last week they joined a team of researchers from around the country to tag a Great White off the coast of Florida.  It was a historic opportunity that's changing everything they ever knew about Great White sharks.

On March 3rd, off the coast of Jacksonville, Mote Marine scientists finally made their elusive catch- a Great White shark.  Within minutes, the scientists took samples and attached tracking devices, while keeping the shark alive.  This was the first time a great white has ever been tagged anywhere south of Massachusetts.

Dr. Nick Whitney helped tag the shark they call 'Lydia.'  With the devices attached to the shark scientists are able to track where she swims, eats and mates.  "We're learning where the animals go in almost real time," said Dr. Whitney.

Since Lydia was tagged scientists have tracked her swimming eastward into the Atlantic. But back in September, these scientists tagged a Great White off the coast of Massachusetts named Mary Lee. And since then, she's traveled up and down the entire eastern seaboard. During the dead of winter, she even swam back to New England, which was shocking to scientists.

Now she's headed toward the Bahamas.  Shark researcher Dr. Bob Huetter said, "[Mary Lee is] basically rewriting what we thought we knew about the migratory habits of the Great White Shark."

Huetter says Lydia will contribute to this new knowledge on great whites.  Huetter said, "We hope to understand more about the habitats, the needs, and the overall life cycle of the Great Whites in the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico."

For these scientists, these tags are opening up a whole new frontier of research.  You can actually track these sharks yourself if you'd like.  Just go to our homepage and click on ‘Links Mentioned.' Then click on ‘Shark tracking.'

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