Miami scientists track great hammerhead shark migration routes

Monday, February 28, 2011

WASHINGTON - University of Miami scientists have discovered the largely unknown migratory patterns and habitat use of the endangered hammerhead shark using satellite tag technology.

Neil Hammershlag and colleagues tracked one of the nomadic sharks for 62 days to uncover its northeast journey from the coast of South Florida to the middle of the Atlantic off the coast of New Jersey.

The data revealed the shark entering the Gulf Stream current and open-ocean waters of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.

“This animal made an extraordinary large movement in a short amount of time,” said Hammerschlag, of the UM Rosenstiel School.

The animal was likely following food, such as mahi-mahi and jacks, off the continental slope and into the Gulf Stream, according to the authors.

This preliminary study is part of a larger effort by Hammerschlag to satellite track tropical sharks to identify hotspots-areas that are important for feeding, mating, and pupping-and to document their largely unknown migration routes.

The great hammerhead shark is listed as endangered in the northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) due to a suspected population decline of nearly 50 percent over the last 10 years. (ANI)

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