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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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A researcher tags a white shark while it is free-swimming off the coast of Cape Cod, MA, USA. Photo: Wayne Davis

Skomal GB, Braun CD, Chisholm JH, Thorrold SR


Movements of the white shark Carcharodon carcharias in the North Atlantic Ocean

Movement of white sharks Charchardon carcharias (size range 2.4–5.2 m) tagged with satellite-based technology off the US east coast from 2009 to 2014 was investigated. Tags (deployed up to 4 yr) demonstrated that white sharks move more broadly throughout the North Atlantic than previously understood. Skomal and colleagues show that tagged white sharks migrated seasonally from the northeast shelf in the summer to overwintering habitat off the southeastern US and the Gulf of Mexico, staying <50 m deep. Larger white sharks (>3 m) moved beyond the shelf into the open Atlantic as far as the Azores, while diving to depths as great as 1128 m. These findings extend the known essential habitat for white sharks in the North Atlantic beyond existing protection area with implications for future conservation.


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