Gansbaai Courant

Blog: International research team work with DICT

Published: 30 June 2017
By:Gansbaai Courant

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) and Marine Dynamics team were joined in May by past Master’s students, Oliver and Michelle Jewell, to continue Olivers studies on great white sharks.

Oliver is a PhD candidate affiliated with Murdoch University.

He is looking at the foraging and swimming patterns of great white sharks by observing body movements and tail beats using camera loggers attached with a special clamping system - CATS-Cams are composite camera/accelerometer/daily diary tags that attach temporarily to sharks using a clamping system that partially dissolves in salt water. 

The tags float and have two tracking systems attached to them in order to recover and download the data from the tags. 

The team included Oliver’s supervisors Dr Adrian Gleiss (Murdoch University) and Dr Taylor Chappell (UC Davis); and a research and film crew from Monterey Bay Aquarium, Dr Salvador Jorgenson, Presley Adamson and Paul Kanive.

Further support was given by past employee of the Trust, David (‘Ed’) Edwards and his partner, Anna Phillips. Ed also assisted with the white shark population study the Trust released in 2013.

Due to the timing of the expedition coinciding with a scarcity of white sharks after the orca predations in the area, the team was only able to get five deployments to add to their three year dataset. Two previous trips averaged ±20 deployments. This information is critical to understanding shark behaviour with a bonus of gai-ning a shark’s view point of the world.

Oliver heads off to Australia to continue his PhD studies but will return to visit the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and add to the dataset.

Pictures: Anna Phillips (Dyer Island Conservation Trust).

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