Feeds

Great white shark's oceanic adventure

From Cape Town to Oz, and back again

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A great white shark has stunned conservationists by going on a marathon journey, probably in search of a mate. Originally tagged off the coast of South Africa, the shark was tracked by GPS on a journey all the way across the Indian Ocean to Australia and back again.

The research team thinks journeys like this must be pretty common among great whites, since they are studying a relatively small group, just 20 or so animals, and it would be very unlikely to have chanced upon totally abnormal behaviour.

The shark, a female named "Nicole" after Nicole Kidman, seems likely to have been in search of romance. The research team, drawing on expertise at the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria and led by Ramon Bonfil of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, says the trip is too long a journey to make for food, and Nicole did not linger in Australian seas.

"There's plenty of food around South Africa and she would be using too much energy to just go to Australia to feed. Of course we can't prove this at this stage, it is just a hunch," Dr. Bonfil told the BBC.

Nicole was no slouch on her journey: she travelled from Gansbaai, not too far from Cape Town, to Australia in just 99 days. Within six months, she was back home in her native waters. The round trip is a whopping 12,400 miles, and Nicole's journey is the fastest known return migration of any swimming animal, the researchers say.

Nicole was tagged in November 2003 with a pop-up archival tag. These are attached to the dorsal fin, and at a predetermined time, will detach themselves and float up to the surface.

Deon Kotze of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM), told South Africa's Independent Online: "We were really surprised. We didn't expect one of the sharks to go to Australia, and we didn't expect it to come back again. It shows how little we know about them."

DNA evidence has previously suggested that there is some exchange genetic between white shark populations of South Africa and Australia, but no behavioural evidence has been observed to support this - until now.

"It’s clear that we have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg; there is still much to learn about great white shark migrations, why and how they find their way through such vast distances, and how populations are related," Dr Bonfil said.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.