- New Smartphone App Lets Users Track Sharks
- Strange Solutions Presented to Protect Great Barrier Reef
- Basking Sharks May Foil Plans for Scotland Offshore Wind Farm
In a bid to raise awareness for marine ecology and make it a more personal issue, scientists have released a tracking app that will allow users to follow California great white sharks in real time. The new app, called Shark Net, is part of a project called the Blue Serengeti Initiative, wherein a network of wifi hot spots located on buoys and self-propelled robots will continuously track the movements of sharks and other marine animals, to give people a better understanding of shark habitat, breeding grounds, and migration patterns. Users of the app will be sent a notification whenever a shark passes within 1,000 feet any of the hot spots, and inside the app are photo galleries, videos, historical tracking data, and customizable interactive maps that the project hopes will encourage people to support legislation that provides protection for these animals and their habitat.
A leading climate change scientist is pushing for people to think outside of the box when it comes to protecting the Great Barrier Reef, even suggesting giant shade cloths as a way to keep the corals shielded from the sun’s rays. Also part of the brainstorm session was genetic engineering of marine life to help them acclimate, addition of base minerals to the waters surrounding the reef to counteract rising acidity levels, and using electric currents to stimulate coral growth, which has been proven to be successful on other reefs worldwide. Further research will be conducted to determine if one or all of these solutions will be viable for the long term health of the Great Barrier Reef.
A plan to build 180-300 wind turbines off the west coast of Scotland has met with opposition from Scottish marine conservationists, who are asking the government to declare the waters surrounding Scotland a marine reserve instead, due to the prevalence of basking sharks in the area. Basking sharks were hunted nearly to extinction in British waters in the early 20th century, but their numbers had increased so much by 1930 that the Scottish Office ordered vessels to deliberately ram the filter feeders as a way to control their population. Today, that number is rising again, particularly off the coasts of Scotland where sea temperatures have risen. The contract for the wind farm is on hold for 18 months while research is conducted on the probable impact on wildlife, including the basking shark.