Cape Cod White Shark Predation Study

Pelagic Shark Tagging

New England tiger shark image
A large tiger shark encountered off shore in the canyons of New England.

Many people are surprised to learn that there are many species of shark, in addition to the white shark, found in New England. There are over 400 shark species worldwide, and New England contains arguably some of the most notable shark species. For instance, more than two species of hammerheads visit the area each year.

Several of the shark species found in New England, including the white shark, are “warm-blooded”, maintaining temperatures 7-10 C above ambient water conditions through highly developed heat exchangers in the vascular system. From blue, basking, mako, hammerhead, tiger, whale, to even oceanic whitetip sharks, many different species frequent the area. In fact, we have already photo-documented all of these species free swimming in the region without a hook or line.

In particular, little to nothing is known about these off-shore or “pelagic shark“ species that visit the region each year. These sharks may be part of a distinct but rare population in the western North Atlantic, with different but unknown migration patterns and habitats. In conjunction with Dr. Gregory Skomal from the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries, we plan to satellite tag these species while free swimming with these sharks during the 2016-2017 seasons.

Scalloped hammerhead sharks image
Tom Burns and Eric Savetsky encounter a large school of scalloped hammerhead sharks off shore in New England.
Oceanic whitetip shark image
In 2015, Tom Burns, Eric Savetsky, and Ben Phillips were the first divers to photo document the oceanic whitetip shark free swimming in New England waters.