Researchers from Monterey bay Aquarium and Stanford University have discovered, between California and Hawaii, an area the size of Colorado that appears to be a “White Shark Café” — but it is unclear if the sharks are there for food or sex.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday authorities are trying to determine why these sharks spend months on an annual pilgrimage, in winter and spring, to the deep sea. Scientists say that it appears the sharks are out there to feast on the abundant amount of squid and small fish in the region.
“They are telling us this incredible story about the mid-water, and there is this whole secret life that we need to know about,” Salvador Jorgensen, a research scientist for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and one of the expedition’s leaders, told the paper.
The area where the sharks flock to was referred to as the oceanic version of the Sahara desert.
Researchers last fall used equipment to monitor the sharks’ movement and found sharks taking unusually deep dives – up to 3,000 feet – and also noticed male sharks behaved differently from females. Male sharks moved up and down the water in what was described as a V-shape, and swam in the formation up to 140 times a day.
“Either they are eating something different or this is related in some way to their mating,” Jorgensen said.
“What we’ve learned through the progression of our research is that this mid-water layer is extremely important for white sharks,” he said. “They are swimming in these layers, tracking [prey] day and night. ... It’s a game of hide-and-seek.”