The White Shark Cafe allows people to see the feeding patterns of the most famous predator in the sea.
This spot, far within the Pacific Ocean, is an area where sharks dive to extreme depths, for reasons unknown to biologists. The marine animals gather together halfway between Hawaii and Mexico, where they undertake the tremendous dives. Although biologists speculate the reason is either feeding or mating, the real answer remains unclear.
Monterey Bay Aquarium researchers are fitting white sharks with a unique camera, providing views of the dive as the massive fish race far beneath the ocean's surface.
White sharks first evolved 11 million years before our time from close relatives that swam the oceans of the Earth 60 million years ago. Today, they are the largest predatory fish found on Earth.
Researchers believe this new device will allow biologists to finally understand why the sharks are meeting at the White Shark Cafe and undertaking their epic journeys far underwater. After two to three months, the wandering fish travel away from the region.
Unlike shark cams that have been utilized in the past, this new design would broadcast for months, instead of days.
"It had to be small and easy to attach to a shark's dorsal fin. It had to stay on the shark for up to nine months, until the shark returned to the California coast from its offshore location. It had to survive dives as deep as 1,000 meters (3,300 feet), and bursts of acceleration to speeds up to 25 miles an hour," the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (Mbari) reports.
During the summer of 2016, researchers will attach a prototype camera to an underwater robot. This autonomous underwater vehicle (UAV) will be directed on a deep sea dive, simulating a journey at the White Shark Cafe.
Jaws, a thriller movie telling a tale of a ravenous white shark terrorizing the small town of Amity, was released in 1975. This film, adapted from a novel, gave white sharks a terrifying reputation among many people in the United States and beyond. However, 2010 saw the greatest number of annual unprovoked attacks on humans from sharks in a decade — 79. Since 1907, however, 201 of 220 attacks by white sharks on humans have occurred when the victim was less than six feet beneath the surface of the water.
The first-of-its-kind shark cam is currently undergoing testing, and is expected to be fully operational and deployed sometime in December 2016 or January of the following year.