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Katherine the Shark's Eager Followers Crash Her Tracking Site

By    |   Friday, 20 Jun 2014 10:22 AM

Katherine the shark, one of the 50 great whites tracked by OCEARCH, has become something of a celebrity, so much so that viewers anxious to get a peek at her location crashed the research site's servers this week.

Katherine, a 14-foot, 2,300-pound great white tagged off the shore of Cape Cod last August, is currently about 150 miles off the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico and researchers expect that she'll swing around toward Texas over the next week.

"On average, we're collecting 100 data points every second — 8.5 million data points per day. It's just phenomenal," Nick Whitney, a marine biologist with the Mote Marine Laboratories in Sarasota, Florida, told Computerworld. "Second by second, we can pick up every tail beat and change in posture."

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Katherine, named after Cape Cod native and "America the Beautiful" song author Katherine Lee Bates, has attracted something of a cult following, OCEARCH founder Chris Fischer told Computerworld.

"I think what makes her special is she swam right down the east coast of Florida, right through Miami, right around Key West and then showed us for the first time in history how the white shark gets up into the Gulf of Mexico," he said. "When she swims through these populated areas . . . more and more people feel included and join in the movement."

Katherine is also popular because she's the center of a sort of soap opera of the shark world. Researchers suspect the great white might be pregnant, and are waiting to see whether she will soon return to her breeding ground. According to OCEARCH, non-pregnant female sharks return every year to their breeding grounds while pregnant sharks return every two years.

"Is she going to reveal in the next 60 days if she's pregnant?" Fischer posited. "Will she stay away from the Cape which would indicate she is?"

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Katherine the shark, one of the 50 great whites tracked by OCEARCH, has become something of a celebrity, so much so that viewers anxious to get a peek at her location crashed the research site's servers this week.
katherine, shark, crashes, servers
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2014-22-20
Friday, 20 Jun 2014 10:22 AM
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