Great White Sharks: From Guadalupe to a Massive, Unknown Population off the Coast of California
For nearly 20 years, Michael Domeier and Nicole Nasby Lucas have been studying great white sharks together. They started working off the coast of Guadalupe Island in 1999. Since then, they’ve amassed a massive database of great white sharks off the shore of this 94-square-mile island about 160 miles south of Baja California.
And this database has some of the world’s most well-known white sharks, including Lucy, a 17-foot female with a twisted tail fin, and Deep Blue, a 50-year-old great white shark believed to be 20 feet long and 50 years old.
Domeier and Nasby Lucas of the Marine Conservation Science Institute got into shark tracking by mistake, according to Domeier. He wanted to use satellite trackers to investigate a population of bluefin tuna near Guadalupe Island.
“Unfortunately, the bluefin had vanished by the time I was able to purchase the tags and schedule a trip to Guadalupe Island,” he told The Washington Newsday. “However, we did come across a number of great white sharks,” says the narrator. The great white shark population on Guadalupe Island is large and stable. Warmth and a regular flow of nutrients into the surrounding seas are provided by the waters around the volcanic island, making them food chain hotspots. Great white sharks can be found feeding on seals, sea lions, and tuna around Guadalupe Island.
Their satellite tracking technology quickly revealed some unexpected results. “The first tag was lost in the middle of the ocean, halfway between the mainland and Hawaii,” Domeier explained. “I recognized right away that everything we thought we knew about this species was incorrect. I was intrigued, and since then, I’ve been investigating great white sharks.” Year after year, Domeier and Nasby Lucas returned to tag and identify the sharks, eventually compiling a database with hundreds of great whites.
We now know a lot about this shark population because to their studies. Males migrate there every year, whereas females migrate every two years when they are pregnant.
“As we learned more about sharks, we had more questions,” Nasby Lucas said.
The researchers determined that these great white sharks spend a lot of time in the open ocean, occasionally making their way to Hawaii, where they number over 2,500. This is a condensed version of the information.