CAPE COD, MA USA (PRWEB) July 25, 2013 -- OCEARCH is launching what is anticipated to be the largest Great White Shark expedition in U.S. history on July 30, 2013, off the coast of Cape Cod, to further both science and public safety. The 17th expedition led by OCEARCH Founding Chairman Chris Fischer, it is scheduled to run through August 29, 2013. The objective will be to capture, tag and release 10-20 Great White Sharks while providing top scientists 15 minutes with each shark to conduct approximately 12 scientific studies.
The increased summertime population of Great White Sharks off Cape Cod has drawn significant science and public safety attention, specifically a quest for increased knowledge. OCEARCH facilitates research and shares data on the breeding, feeding, migration, and birthing patterns of sharks, Last summer OCEARCH tagged two Great Whites named Mary Lee and Genie off Cape Cod and in March a Great White named Lydia was tagged by OCEARCH off Jacksonville, FL.
Those sharks, along with over 30 others, are being tracked on the Global Shark Tracker by millions. The new sharks tagged in Cape Cod, ideally 10-20 total, will be immediately available for anyone to follow, including school students.
EXPEDITION CAPE COD 2013 will be different from OCEARCH’s 2012 Cape Cod expedition in that the research team will be working in an area known for high populations of seals. Leading the collaborative team will be MA Division of Marine Fisheries Senior Scientist and WHOI Adjunct Scientist Dr. Greg Skomal along with Dr. Bob Hueter and Dr. Nick Whitney of the Mote Marine Laboratory. They will be joined by Dr. Simon Thorrold of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and numerous other scientists and institutions including University of Massachusetts, University of North Florida, Middle Tennessee State University, College of Charleston, Cape Canaveral Scientific and the Georgia Aquarium. Skomal stated: “This expedition brings together an amazing team of researchers with broad experience in multiple disciplines. In doing so, we will be conducting over a dozen studies on white sharks, ranging from broad and fine scale migratory patterns to sonograms. Our knowledge base on Atlantic white sharks will grow exponentially, helping both science and public safety.”
The 126 foot M/V OCEARCH with its 75,000 lb. custom shark lift will depart Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on July 30 after a local media event aboard the ship.
The expedition is in large part sponsored by Caterpillar Inc. as part of a multi-year partnership to help propel global research on sharks. Milton Cat is providing local support in Cape Cod for the M/V OCEARCH vessel. Says Fischer: “Caterpillar helps us, through the work of our science collaborators, generate the data needed to inform policy makers and the general public while at the same time educating students. Their global dealer network enables us to support scientists and countries in need, anywhere in the world, with confidence.” Additional sponsors include Costa, Landry’s Inc., Yeti, Contender, SAFE Boats and Mustad.
Simultaneous to the launch of the expedition, a new OCEARCH STEM Education Curriculum, based on the Global Shark Tracker and developed by Landry’s Inc., will be launched. Twenty-four lesson plans are scheduled to be rolled out in August for grades 6-8, with a follow-up in the future for K-12. It is the first of its kind in the world.
A new OCEARCH Digital Press Portal with HD video, photography and electronic copy for every shark captured and tagged will be made available to exclusively support the editorial needs of the press. To request alerts please email pressalert(at)ocearch(dot)org. To attend the July 30 media event or request on-board media access during the expedition, which is very limited, please contact press(at)ocearch(dot)org immediately.
Local community events will be held throughout the month of August in Cape Cod, under the coordination of local organizations such as the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the Chatham Shark Center, the Audubon Society, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance and the Sea Lab Marine Science Education Center. To stay updated on the daily activities, visit http://www.ocearch.org where you can see the daily Expedition Blog, experience the Global Shark Tracker and see all social media links. Expedition headquarters for OCEARCH will be the Chatham Bars Inn, who will also be hosting events and supporting daily expedition logistics.
OCEARCH is a non-profit organization with a global reach for unprecedented ocean-based research on apex predators such as Great White Sharks, supporting leading researchers and institutions seeking to attain groundbreaking data on the movement, biology and health of sharks to protect their future while enhancing public safety.
The researchers OCEARCH supports work aboard the M/V OCEARCH, a 126’ Cat-powered vessel equipped with a custom 75,000 lb. hydraulic lift and research platform, which serves as both mothership and at-sea laboratory.
OCEARCH expeditions facilitate data that is in turn shared on the Global Shark Tracker with the world for free - enabling students and the public to learn alongside PhDs. The Global Shark Tracker is a web-based near-real-time satellite tracking tool for sharks that will eventually be expanded to other species.
Fiona Marcelino, OCEARCH, http://www.ocearch.org, 435-650-5142, [email protected]