Are you one of the many that are glued to their TV during Discovery's Shark Week? Are you dying to travel bodies of water alongside those sharks, but your hectic schedule and great fear of death is constantly getting in the way?
Well you're in luck, because you can actually track the same sharks that researchers are observing live right from the comfort of your own home on your computer.
Ocearch.org, which is a non-profit organization, has been tracking over 80 great white sharks and other marine predators like seals and tuna since 2007. Over the past decade, the group has tagged over 300 sharks that are classified under nine different shark species.
By the use of tagging technologies, scientists have been able to follow the paths of all these marauders. It has resulted in an abundance of data that provides insight into their behaviors and focuses on conservation efforts. The information has been especially helpful in understanding the habitats of the sharks -- where they give birth and where and when they feed, which all help in aiding vital conservation efforts.
Sharks are important but remain a huge mystery. Tracking also allows researchers to build a clear picture of the entire marine ecosystem and additionally aids them in understanding any potential threats there are to the various species, like human activities such as fishing. It may overlap migration routes, as well as feeding and breeding grounds. Ocearch names and tags sharks, and once they release them back into the ocean, the trackers will ping off a satellite when they surface during their travels, which sends their GPS coordinates for collection.
Each shark that is tagged has a name and a photo on the site. You can check out the Ocearch Shark tracker 24 hours a day and see where all of these tagged sharks are located. Some of them actually have their own Twitter profiles! As you follow their adventures in the deep blue sea, it's pretty easy to become attached to these majestic creatures.
From the tracker, you will get a defined map showing you how your desired sharks are roaming about their environments. What's cool about the shark tracker tool is that there's an array of filters: location, recent activity, and even gender. It won't be hard to find what ever piques your interest about a particular shark.
Start watching sharks
So, here's how this amazing shark tracker lets you observe sharks swimming all over the world.
1. Open your web browser to the OCEARCH website.
2. Then locate the menu bar located on the right-hand side of your screen. Hover your mouse over the icon labeled filters and click on it.
3. Then the specific filter menu for tracking will pop up. Nice to know it's powered by SeaWorld!
4. You have a lot of filter options here: species, location tagged, name, tracking activity, stage of life and sex. Once you've set your filter up the way you want, scroll down to the bottom and click Track. (For example, white sharks were selected as species and all the other filters defaulted to all.)
5. You will then see shark icons that you can hover over. When you hover over one of the shark icons you will see the name, length, weight and sex of the shark.
6. Then if you double click on the shark icon, that shark's tracking lines and "ping" data points will appear on the map, and you will be able to see when the shark was tagged, and its last ping.
Pretty cool, right?
Now if you want to track these great whites or any other kind of sharks on the go, all you have to do is download OCEARCH's app, which is available for iPhone users, and for the non-Apple lovers out there, they're in the works of developing the app for Android devices. Soon, everyone will be able to see what their favorite shark buddies are up to while waiting for morning coffee.
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