Great whites, the most revered, and feared, shark of the ocean, draw the fascination of marine biologists. While a great deal of research over the years reveals many of the animals characteristics, still much remains unknown. However, scientists with OCEARCH, a nonprofit specializing in marine life tracking, recently discovered a popular destination for great whites in an area off the coast of North Carolina.
The new data from 5 great white sharks with satellite trackers mounted to their fins revealed an attraction to the region. There, they appear to hover around the edge of the Gulf Stream.
The Gulf Stream transports a massive amount of water through the Atlantic Ocean. It originates in the Gulf of Mexico and travels northward off the east coast of the United States. First, it curves around the entirety of the gulf before rounding Florida on its way northeast, eventually heading towards Europe.
Its trajectory surges warm water off the coast of North Carolina. There, along the edge of the Gulf Stream, an upwelling of nutrient rich cold water rises nearer to the surface.
As a result, smaller fish flock to the area to feast on the nutrients. They, in turn, attract predatory fish like great whites. The area, OCEARCH researchers believe, serves as a prominent feeding zone for the sharks.
The sharks, which range in size from eight feet up to twelve feet and seven inches, first pinged off the North Carolina coast last week. As of Wednesday, they remain in the area.
Short distance swims take them through a range of water temperatures. Therefore, the area is perfect for a creature more attuned to warmer ocean water, but seeking food more commonly found in the cold.
OCEARCH continues to observe tagged sharks among their 416 tagged sea creatures. They make all research available to the scientific community. Furthermore, anyone may visit their website and view the locations of their trackers.