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White shark off the US east coast becomes Twitter star



Shark News

Great white tweets locations, swimming route

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 18 May, 2015 - The transmitter-tagged great white shark Mary Lee, has gained a loyal social media following by a public hungry to watch her real-time swimming patterns off the seaboard of the US east coast. Mary Lee, who just pinged off of New Jersey, goes by the Twitter handle @MaryLeeShark, and has 60K Twitter followers (which more than some well-salaried pro surfers.)

The shark, which was tagged off the coast of Cape Cod, is among hundreds of sharks that Ocearch, a Utah-based organization, has tagged and tracked since 2007.

Ocearch's multi-year project uses GPS trackers affixed to the shark's dorsal fin to post real time data on dozens of great whites across the globe — Mary Lee was hanging out near Ocean City, Maryland on Sunday, for example — with the goal of better understanding the shark's life cycle and encouraging conservation of the endangered ocean predators.

Shark researchers say the work is important because there's still a lot unknown about the behavior of mature white sharks. The massive beasts are extremely difficult to tag with modern GPS trackers that would help closely track their movements.

Gregory Skomal, a marine biologist who heads the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, says the research is of particular interest along the densely populated East Coast, where great whites are being spotted with greater frequency.

"Basically the cafe is open and the customers are arriving," Skomal said. "Ten or fifteen years ago, you might have had three to four sightings of white sharks off the coast of Massachusetts a year. Now we're getting well over 30 or 40."

You can follow Mary Lee's Twitter account here


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