A great white shark lair has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean, providing insight into why the voracious predators have been flocking to a mysterious region that researchers had deemed a barren, empty void.
Researchers from five scientific institutions set out on an expedition last spring, led by Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to determine what was drawing the sharks to the spot between Baja California and Hawaii, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
From the surface, the region appeared to be void of any prey or suitable habitat for great whites, yet each year the sharks made a pilgrimage to the spot.
Researchers now have established that the area is not barren at all, but is home to a plethora of squid and smaller fish that served as prey to the sharks.
“The story of the white shark tells you that this area is vitally important in ways we never knew about,” said Salvador Jorgensen, a research scientist for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and one of the expedition’s leaders, according to the Chronicle. “They are telling us this incredible story about the mid-water, and there is this whole secret life that we need to know about.”
The team came to their conclusion after tracking 20 individual tagged sharks to the area, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Ten of these tags were recovered, which contained essential data of the sharks’ migration habits.
The researchers then used various oceanographic instruments and methods to study the ocean conditions and marine life at the location.
“We found a high diversity of deep-sea fish and squids (over 100 species), which in combination with observations made by the ROV and DNA sequencing, demonstrate a viable trophic pathway to support large pelagic organisms such as sharks and tunas,” said lead researcher Barbara Block.
Jorgensen said their research determined that the region was “extremely important for white sharks,” which were "tracking [prey] day and night,” according to Fox News. “It’s a game of hide-and-seek,” he said.
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