Scientists heading a worldwide shark-tagging research project will visit to the Vineyard Sunday to meet the public and answer questions.
An event will be held at Dreamland in Oak Bluffs Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. with the team of OCEARCH, a marine research nonprofit that launched a first-of-its kind in-depth study of Atlantic white sharks last month. The project has involved tagging white sharks, primarily in waters off Chatham. Head scientist Chris Fischer will lead the presentation Sunday followed by members of the OCEARCH team. One member of the team is Greg Skomal, a noted shark biologist and former Vineyard resident who works for the state Division of Marine Fisheries.
The event is free. Dreamland is above the Martha's Vineyard Chowder Company.
Launched with fanfare from Woods Hole in late July, the expedition is part of the global shark tracking mission of OCEARCH, which has already completed 17 separate expeditions, including a 48-day voyage to Trinidad and South Africa. The 126-foot vessel OCEARCH is designed to accommodate the largest of the ocean’s predators and is specially equipped to keep the sharks alive on board the vessel for 15 minutes while scientists extract information for their research, all the while hosing down the animal to keep its gills supplied with oxygen. The boat is equipped to catch, study and tag as many as 20 white sharks.
Shark migration patterns are still much of a mystery, as are their mating, feeding and gestating behaviors. Shark-tracking information is uploaded in real time on an OCEARCH website.