SOURCE: OCEARCH

OCEARCH

August 10, 2016 09:49 ET

OCEARCH and the New York Aquarium Lead Shark Expedition in Long Island, NY This August

Research Organizations Will Be Targeting White, Mako, and Blue Sharks

PARK CITY, UT--(Marketwired - August 10, 2016) - OCEARCH and its team of collaborating scientists are joining forces in the waters off Long Island, New York for a wide-ranging study to gather data on the ecology, physiology, and behavior of sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, with a special focus on blue, mako, and great white sharks.

"More than two dozen sharks are known from waters in the New York Bight, where they play an important role in the healthy functioning of our ocean and coastal ecosystems," said Merry Camhi of WCS's New York Aquarium.

As an organization specializing in tracking sharks while engaging in global conservation outreach and education, OCEARCH will bring its unique shark platform and at-sea research laboratory -- the MV OCEARCH -- to New York waters for its 26th expedition. The research vessel will host a multi-institutional science team from WCS, NOAA Fisheries, South Hampton Schools, Florida Atlantic University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Stony Brook University.

One focus of the expedition will be to determine what role the New York Bight region plays in the life history of sharks. Scientists suspect that the nearby south shore of Long Island may serve as a nursery area for the great white shark, a theory stemming from the migratory patterns of five great whites previously tagged by OCEARCH collaborating scientists.

"The waters off Long Island are the only known hot spot for baby white sharks in the North Atlantic," said Tobey Curtis, lead scientist and Fisheries Manager at NOAA Fisheries. "White sharks and other species rely on New York's productive coastal waters for the first years of their lives. Understanding where, when, and how these sharks use this area can help us better predict how human activities might be impacting them."

In its upcoming expedition, OCEARCH's objective is to tag multispecies of sharks in the region and to allow the public to follow their migratory patterns in real-time on the Global Shark Tracker.

"New York Aquarium scientists have been studying the movements of blue and mako sharks offshore since 2012, and we expect our partnership with OCEARCH to shed additional light on when the sharks are in our waters, their migratory pathways, and how we can improve our conservation efforts," Camhi added.

This expedition will mark OCEARCH's first time in New York waters. Most New Yorkers are unaware that there are sharks just offshore of Long Island's beaches, and according to expedition leader Chris Fischer, this should not be a cause for fear, but excitement. "Not only will this expedition benefit New York in terms of helping change the perception of sharks from that of fear to one of curiosity and fascination, but it will allow the rest of the world to follow along on the Global Shark Tracker and learn about sharks at the same time as our scientists," Fischer said. "The data coming from these sharks will help us understand the ecosystem off New York and manage the area toward a balanced abundant future," he added.

The expedition, supported by Costa Sunglasses, is scheduled to take place August 11 through August 29, 2016. "At Costa, we believe in supporting research missions like OCEARCH to help better inform sport fishing policies and procedures with real scientific data," said Al Perkinson, Vice President of Marketing for Costa. "The more we know and understand shark species, the more efforts we can put in place to help protect them."

Anyone and everyone can follow the OCEARCH expedition by accessing the near-real time, free online Global Shark Tracker or by downloading the Global Shark Tracker App available for Apple and Android platforms.

About OCEARCH: OCEARCH is a recognized world leader in generating critical scientific data related to tracking (telemetry) and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white and tiger sharks, in conjunction with conservation outreach and education at a measurable global scale. OCEARCH shares real-time migration data through OCEARCH's Global Shark Tracker -- In 2015, OCEARCH open sourced the data on the Global Shark Tracker to 2.3 million users. OCEARCH also inspires current and future generations of explorers, scientists, and stewards of the ocean through its STEM Learning Program. The free STEM Curriculum, available for grades K-8 and created in partnership with Landry's, Inc. enables students to learn STEM skills while following the real-time data on the movements of their favorite sharks. The researchers OCEARCH supports work aboard the M/V OCEARCH, a 126' Cat powered vessel equipped with a 75,000 lb. hydraulic research platform, where the ship serves as both mothership and at-sea laboratory. Scientists have approximately 15 minutes of access to live, mature sharks to conduct up to 12 studies. The sharks are measured, tissue and blood samples are collected, and satellite and acoustic transmitters are attached. Over 113 researchers from 59 regional and international institutions have partnered with OCEARCH.

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium is open every day of the year. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Fall/winter/spring hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. Tickets are $11.95 per person (ages 3 & up), and include Aquarium admission plus one admission to the new 4-D Theater; children age 2 and under are admitted free. Fridays after 4 p.m. in the summer and after 3 p.m. in the fall, Aquarium admission is by pay-what-you-wish donation. The aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island. The New York Aquarium is located on property owned by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit our web site at http://www.nyaquarium.com. Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the WCS New York Aquarium, a beloved part of Brooklyn and all of the City of New York. Due to Hurricane Sandy we are partially opened. Check our website for more information. www.nyaquarium.com.

About Costa As the leading manufacturer of the world's clearest polarized performance sunglasses, Costa offers superior lens technology and unparalleled fit and durability. Still handcrafted today in Florida, Costa has created the highest quality, best performing sunglasses for outdoor enthusiasts since 1983. For Costa, conservation is all about sustainable fishing. Many fisheries that should be vibrant and healthy are all but devoid of native fish because they have fallen victim to poor fishing practices, unregulated development, lack of watershed protection or all of the above. Costa works with partners around the world to help increase awareness and influence policy so that both the fish and fishermen of tomorrow will have healthy waters to enjoy. Costa encourages others to help in any way they can.

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