Basking sharks leave Irish waters in search of winter sun - PHOTOS
Previously hunted off the coast of Ireland, harmless Basking Sharks are studied intently by Irish group
‘Banba’ a female basking shark tagged in July with a satellite transmitter off Malin head, Co. Donegal has just released its transmitter west of the Cape Verde Islands, over 5000km away from where it was originally tagged.
The five meter long female shark was one of five basking sharks tagged as part of the Monster Munch Basking Shark Community Awareness Project run by the Irish Basking Shark Study Group in association with the Inishowen Development Partnership and Queens University Belfast.
The movement by the shark ‘Banba’ into warm tropical waters off West Africa, coupled with similar findings by leading American shark biologist Greg Skomal in the western Atlantic, questions the validity of the established theory that basking sharks inhabit temperate waters only. Previous basking shark tracking studies undertaken in the north east Atlantic have only recorded shark movements within temperate waters.
The majority of tracked sharks have displayed a seasonal onshore - offshore migratory pattern, with movements of one or two hundred miles offshore onto the continental shelf edge during winter and return shifts to coastal waters during summer months. This seasonal pattern allows the sharks to feed year round on copepods, a type of zooplankton, their stable food source. However, the recording of this magnificent journey by a basking shark from Malin head to warmer tropical waters questions many of the fundamental theories marine biologists have regarding the species and its lifecycle.
Basking sharks were once hunted off the coasts of Ireland, but they are now classed as endangered in the North Atlantic. The Irish Basking Shark Study Group have been pioneering research on the iconic marine leviathan which can weigh more than an African elephant and grow to over 11m in length. In recent years the group have had internationally significant findings in DNA sampling, population surveys, tagging and tracking.
The groups’ motivation is to see the shark protected in Irish waters, one of the last western European territorial water bodies where they remain unprotected. Emmett Johnston, a co-founder of the group, spoke briefly about Banba’s journey. “The group are delighted with the finding, but it is a bit premature to be rushing out to change the shark biology books. We are awaiting the pop-off of the remaining three satellite transmitters attached this summer, recovering five complete basking shark tracks will allow us to compare the data and make informed conclusions. Until then there is not much we can say other than this is a highly unusual place to find a species that is presumed to inhabit temperate waters.” The satellite transmitter tags used to track the basking sharks incorporate pioneering Fastloc GPS technology coupled with depth and water temperature sensors which will allow researchers to recreate the track of the shark in three dimensions.
Emmett added, “Understanding where the sharks are and what they do when they are there, is essential to making informed management decisions regarding this endangered species.”
- An open letter in strong defence of capitalism.
- Sarah Palin is saving Christmas
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- Gay teacher fired from Catholic school after...
- Virginia governor slammed by doctor over...
- Irish drugs mule to escape full trial and...
- Top Christmas Irish ads that will be bring...
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Families as well as Catholic Church and governm
- Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne brands new Pope...
Where was MY FREEDOM to breathe clean air? My father smoked for over half of my life; I am 60. That's about 40yrs of second hand smoke. My sister smokRacist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent says Immigrant Council
I am sure Pope Francis is delighted to know he has quasi approval from our local, Catholic hating, Protestant abortion queen.Liam Neeson’s agent denies he was inebriated on TV show in Ireland
Hello everybody, my names is Cindy Davis Am from Canada i want to give thanks and honor to Dr.ATILA for the great work he did for me, he brought my loTop Christmas Irish ads that will be bring a tear to your eye (VIDEOS)
Niall O'Dowd, as for my typos, can't you tell a bit of irony and parody when you see it?