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Sharks International: Day 1 Summary

The first day of talks is over here at Sharks International.  In this morning’s keynote, we were treated to a summary of the last 20 years of great white shark research in Australia. Talks so far have mostly focused on tracking studies, and people have made some fascinating discoveries.

 A subpopulation of great whites, a species famous for their trans-oceanic migrations, lives year round in a small bay in South Africa. Other species, like the zebra shark, come back to the exact same small section of reef year after year after swimming thousands of miles on their annual migrations. A great white was recorded diving to a depth of 1,200 m, depths previously unheard of for sharks that spend much of their time near the surface. We also heard about some brilliant research focusing on reducing bycatch of the critically endangered grey nurse shark, and a possible evolutionary correlation between brain size and reproductive method in carcharhinid sharks.

Over 200 people representating 16 countries are here, and the event is taken so seriously by our hosts that Australia’s Chief Scientist flew up this morning from the capital to open the proceedings.

I’m honored to be here, and now that the jet lag is starting to wear off from my five-flight voyage, I’m really enjoying myself.