Divers often carry the explorer and pioneer archetypes (that will naturally magnetize your clients to learning about the ocean, diving new places and trying new things.) This article contributed by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Guy Harvey Research Institute will be of interest to those who love marine science and the excitement of discovery.
By John Bell, Guy Harvey Inc. — When Lilly and JoAnn the shortfin mako sharks were caught, satellite tagged and released off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico nearly six months ago, marine scientist Dr. Guy Harvey and his team from the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) had little idea of the path that they would take.
The juvenile sharks, with a satellite reporting SPOT tag attached, disappeared quietly back into their environment in the Gulf of Mexico, but are now providing multiple and accurate detections of their journey, giving scientists a high resolution view of their migration patterns.
This past week, Dr. Mahmood Shivji, Director of Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University, reported that Lilly had returned close to the original tagging site after 5.8 months and over 2,600 miles of travel.
Dr. Shivji said JoAnn when released took a different and even longer journey (over 4,500 miles in 5.3 months) that has included both the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Amazingly, JoAnn, has now passed near where she was originally tagged three separate times during her extensive journey.
“What we are learning from Lilly and JoAnn is that these sharks do not roam randomly, but exhibit a finely tuned sense of place,” said Dr. Shivji. “Longer term tracking will tell us if they are also exhibiting a sense of time as well as place.”
Lilly and JoAnn are still being tracked and their travels can be followed on the GHRI interactive website
Is the tagged makos’ sense of place timed on mating cycles, seasonal availability of specific food sources or some other factor?
“We certainly see a finely tuned sense of place and time in the travels of tiger sharks we have tracked for long periods,” said Dr. Harvey. “Time will tell if makos show the same navigational skills.”
Given the high fishing pressure on makos for their meat and fins, this species is showing declining population trends in parts of its range, which has resulted in the species being listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red list of threatened species. For a visual snapshot of the mako tagging expedition, watch the video.
About the Guy Harvey Research Institute at NSU:
Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at NSU is collaboration between the renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer, Dr. Guy Harvey, and Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center. The mission of the GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve, and effectively manage the world’s marine fishes and their ecosystems. The GHRI is one of only a handful of private organizations dedicated exclusively to the science-based conservation of marine fish populations and biodiversity. The research, education and outreach activities of the GHRI are supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, AFTCO Inc., extramural research grants, philanthropic donations by private businesses and individuals, and NSU.
About Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation:
The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is a leader in international efforts to protect our oceans and marine environments. The GHOF advocates for sustainable fishing practices, funds inspired scientific research and supports innovative educational programs. Our principle objective is to help ensure that future generations will enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem where fish and other marine wildlife flourish. GHOF has led or assisted include the establishment of a shark sanctuary in Bahamian federal waters, the addition of five species of sharks to Florida¹s protected list and the enactment of the U.S. Billfish Conservation Act. In the fall of 2012, the GHOF led a petition drive in support of the National Conservation Law in the Cayman Islands. The GHOF also assisted the launch of the first catch-and-release fishing tournament in Venezuela.
Dr. Guy Harvey
Guy Harvey is the man behind Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts & Marinas. Guy is a unique blend of artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer. His team is creating a collection of properties in unique destinations owned and staffed by people who are passionate about their time on, in and around the water. These resorts exemplify the type of experiences Guy enjoys in his travels, where each trip is an adventure and an expedition of discovery – where guests can hone their skills, learn something new, expand their vision, and get really connected to the world.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Guy Harvey Research Institute