A rare visit to the waters off of Sarasota by two whale sharks provided Mote Marine Laboratory the chance to outfit the sharks with satellite tags.
Capt. Brian Marcey, of BreakWater Charters spotted the sharks Friday morning about 10 miles offshore, and when he realized they were whale sharks, he called Mote.
Dr. Robert Hueter, director of Mote’s Center for Shark Research, put together a team to tag and record the visit.
“It’s not really unusual to have whale sharks in the Gulf of Mexico,” Hueter said in a prepared statement. “But it is unusual to be able to tag them here off the Florida coast.”
Since 2003, Hueter has been studying whale sharks off Isla Holbox in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where they gather annually in the hundreds to feed on plankton. Now, with these two whale sharks tagged, Hueter can study the movement patterns of sharks in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
According to Hueter, studying shark patterns will be especially important because of the recent oil spill.
“Whale sharks are essentially filter feeders that eat plankton,” Hueter said in the statement. “Often, that means they will feed at the surface where the plankton is floating. Unfortunately, right now, oil also happens to be floating on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Will the sharks stay away from the spill? We just don’t know. And because they’re deep divers, they could also encounter underwater plumes of oil and oil dispersants.”
Contact Robin Hartill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently 0 Responses
20 Golfing for a Change
20 Sarasota/Manatee Heart Walk
20 SPARCC Pirate & Princess Ball
24 "Smart, Sassy, Strong & Classy!" Women's Gala & Speed Networking Event
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Can you dig it?
Third- and fourth-grade students of Temple Beth Sholom had a chance to brush up on their paleontology skills last week while digging for faux dinosaur bones.
Sound of scholars
Local students Caleb Upton and Matthew Vaadi received some help for their upcoming studies to the tune of $1,000 each from the Sarasota Chorus of the Keys. The scholarships were made possible through the Sheridan E. Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund. Both students plan to use the funds toward a career in music.
High Five Moments of the Week
The top five sports moments of the week.