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The Secret Life Of Great White Sharks In Kelp

PHOTO PROVIDED BY OLIVER JEWELL
Apr 7 2019

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In the News
 
If you're a seal, you thought you were safe from great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the kelp. New research shows you are dead wrong. 
 
A new study led by Murdoch University PhD student Oliver Jewell was recently published in the journal Royal Society Biology Letters; Jewell and his team used camera tags to film white sharks foraging in kelp forests in South Africa, showing agility not usually associated with these large predators. The team collected 28 hours of footage from the eight sharks they tagged, and used accelerometers and magnetometers to build pseudo tracks and confirm that the sharks were actually in kelp forests hunting... and even caught some of the chase on video!
 
"The study came up as a result of some other work we were doing on sharks in South Africa," said Taylor Chapple, research scientist at Hopkins Marine Station and one of the co-authors. "We were there initially to look at the kinematics of white shark predatory behavior. But when we reviewed the footage of the camera tags, we realized that the sharks were doing something surprising- they were swimming through the kelp rather than around it."