What is about the winter-time Lowcountry coast that cause great white sharks to flock here?
OCEARCH hopes to find out in the next two weeks.
Shark researchers from the group will set sail around Hilton Head Island in the next three weeks to capture, tag, and release the apex predator as part of Expedition Lowcountry to gather data on the ecology, physiology, and behavior of mature great white sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. It is the group’s 28th mission,
OCEARCH’s team of 17 scientists and researchers left Savannah on Monday morning on its 126-foot vessel for the two-week excursion.
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Every year like clockwork, Mary Lee has made her way to the South Carolina coast in the fall and winter since being tagged in 2012, according to OCEARCH’s tracking. Mary Lee, the group’s most famous shark with more than 102,000 Twitter followers, is a mature 16-footer that weighs in at 3,500 pounds.
“The Lowcountry region is a critical habitat for white sharks,” said Chris Fischer, OCEARCH’s founding chairman and the expedition leader, in a press release. “We are looking to enable local researchers to expand the data on the species as well as the understanding of their local resources.”
OCEARCH has satellite-tagged and tracked a total of 20 great white sharks in the Atlantic. The scientists hope to tag more sharks on this expedition in order to have a sizable sample for understanding the species’ habitat usage and movements.
Expedition Lowcountry will take place off the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina until March 15.
Follow OCEARCH on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@OCEARCH), and YouTube for Expedition Lowcountry updates.