SoCal scientists look into where juvenile great white sharks will go when they mature

Saturday, September 23, 2017 12:12AM
There are a growing number of juvenile great white sharks along the Southern California shores, and local scientists are trying to figure out why and where they will go when they mature.


GUADALUPE ISLAND, Mexico - There are a growing number of juvenile great white sharks along the Southern California shores, and local scientists are trying to figure out why and where they will go when they mature.

Great white sharks are feared predators of the deep. Their image as killing machines are forever part of Hollywood history.

Researchers at Cal State Long Beach shark lab are tagging many of the young creatures to find out where they will go.

Experts are learning Guadalupe Island, a so-called aggregate site for great whites out in the pacific, is part of the equation.

"We know that one of the sharks that we have tagged in Southern California has come to Guadalupe, which is really cool. So what it's doing is it's starting to show us how Southern California is connected with Guadalupe," said Chris Lowe with Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab.

The island is more than 150 miles off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico, and is one of the only places in the world to have such a high concentration of white sharks.

Eyewitness News reporter Leanne Suter got a chance to see the fierce sea creatures face-to-face. She dropped below the surface and is filmed from inside a cage as a shark goes by.

The massive creatures average about 15 feet and are around 4,000 pounds. Their torpedoed bodies are built for speed, swimming up to 35 mph. They also have 300 teeth in up to seven rows.

"When you see them from the top and you're like, 'Those are big animals.' And then you go underwater and you're like, 'Goodness gracious those are big animals!'" Steve Roberts said.

Sometimes two to three sharks at a time. Their size determines their rank, which raises even more questions for the scientists.

"If they're small and the big individuals kind of dominate, chances are those individuals are going to get displaced. What I want to know is where are they going to go? Will they be coming to Southern California and trying things out there?" Lowe said.

Scientists still know very little about great white sharks. The curious creatures are full of many secrets. No one has ever seen them mate or give birth, which means so much of their lives are still a mystery.

Experts push to learn as much as possible about the apex predators as the world beneath the surface continues to change.

The more the scientists learn about the animals then the more they learn about sharing the ocean with these creatures.
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