Follow shark catchers (and their prey) online

WASHINGTON — A science vessel is busy searching for sharks off the East Coast, and you can follow along without strapping on a life preserver.

The research group OCEARCH has launched its 28th expedition with a goal of tagging and studying mature great white sharks off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

The Lowcountry Expedition began Feb. 22 and ends March 15.

Ten researchers from eight different institutions are on board and even more scientists will receive samples of things such as shark tissue, blood and parasites.

Sharks that are caught are fitted with a tag that communicates with a satellite when their dorsal fins pop out of the water for a certain period of time.

And with OCEARCH’s “Global Shark Tracker,” anyone can follow the movements of tagged sharks, which are given names like Katharine, Manhattan and CubsWin.

Orange dots on the tracker screen indicate recent shark “pings” and clicking on a particular shark gives a visual history of where it’s been hanging out.

Many of these tagged sharks have their own social media accounts and a large number of fans. A shark named Mary Lee, for instance, has 102,000 followers on Twitter.

OCEARCH says it will provide updates on the expedition through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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