FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – South Florida scientists have discovered “Andy” the tiger shark is simply unstoppable.
Tagged back in 2014 by researchers in Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), “Andy” is now the longest reporting tiger shark in history! Tagged in the waters off Bermuda, “Andy” has been logging the miles – more than 37,500 so far – and there’s no signs of him slowing down anytime soon. His satellite tag has been transmitting for more than 1,240 days.
“We are delighted with how long Andy has reported data, which has tremendous value for us as researchers,” said Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., the director of NSU’s GHRI and a professor in the university’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. “This amazing, nearly three and a half year track is revealing clear repeated patterns in the shark’s migrations between summer and winter.”
More than 150 sharks, including tigers, makos and oceanic whitetips, have been tagged by the GHRI in the last decade. The data collected is used to study migration patterns.
Andy and many other GHRI tagged sharks can be followed online in near real-time at nova.edu/sharktracking.
“Tracking the migration patterns of sharks, like Andy, for extended periods of time allow us to better understand their behavior and habitat utilization, resulting in better knowledge on how to manage the species,” said world renowned artist and Guy Harvey Foundation Chairman Guy Harvey, Ph.D.
According to a paper published in the most recent ICES Journal of Marine Science by Shivji and his colleagues, tiger shark migrations are heavily influenced by a shark’s physical characteristics (i.e. size, age) and environmental variations (i.e. water temperature, prey availability). This study reveals not only the environmental factors driving these massive migrations by tiger sharks but also highlights how the different age groups behave. This information could prompt fisheries managers to reevaluate how best to protect this near-threatened species.