September 24, 2022

Great white shark just keeps swimming — into the history books

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Great White Shark (BBC)By Alex Magdaleno From Mashable

A great white shark is swimming through new, unexplored waters — at least for her kind. She’s set to make history as the first white shark to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Named Lydia, this 14-foot-long, satellite-tagged female shark was, at time of writing, 1,000 miles from the coasts of County Cork, Ireland, and Cornwall, England. That’s just above the mid-Atlantic ridge, the underwater mountain range that serves as a boundary line between the east and west Atlantic.

Lydia would be the first white shark to swim across the Atlantic because swimming that far in those waters is an uncommon behavior and migratory pattern for the species. Jim Gelsleichter, the director of the Shark Biology Program at the University of North Florida told the Florida Times-Union that Lydia’s movements illustrate how scientists’ initial view of the movement patterns of Atlantic white sharks — swimming to Cape Cod, Mass., in the summer and moving to Florida in the winter — “was far too simplistic and downright wrong.”

Although she’s closer to Europe than North America, Lydia has to cross the mid-Atlantic ridge to technically be the first documented white shark to enter the eastern Atlantic, Dr. Gregory Skormal, a senior fisheries biologist with Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, told BBC News.

Ocearch, a non-profit organization dedicated to the research of great white sharks, tags sharks uses a custom-built, 75,000-pound capacity hydraulic platform on its research vessel to lift mature sharks so that they can be tagged for future research, like Lydia’s historic journey. The organization first tagged Lydia off the coast of Florida in March 2013. Since then, she’s traveled more than 19,000 miles.

You can track Lydia’s travels on Ocearch’s website — she’s the orange dot trailblazing ahead while the other Ocearch-tagged sharks enjoy various coastlines.

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