UPDATE: Grabbing Tigers By the Tail in Bermuda

In August 2009, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funded a scientific expedition to tag and track tiger sharks in the western Atlantic in an effort to study their migration patterns and habitat utilization (you can read my original Bermuda expedition blog post here).

The expedition team, consisting of Drs. Mahmood Shivji, Director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute, Brad Weatherbee from the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Biological Sciences and Neil Burnie, a Bermudian veterinarian – as well as myself, my children Jessica and Alex, and several other valuable members – successfully fitted seven tiger sharks with satellite pop-up tags. Since then, we have kept a close eye on the tigers and have gained new insights into their range of movement from the original point of tagging, which was about 17 miles off Bermuda’s southwest coast.

Initially, two sharks remained in the Bermudian waters while the other five made the long trek into Caribbean waters, reaching as far west as the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos and as far south as the British Virgin Islands. However, the two remaining tigers eventually migrated into the northern Caribbean as well and it appears all have made this area their home – at least for now (interestingly, one tiger seems to have taken on the persona of a mako shark, prowling the deep, open waters of the Atlantic Ocean east of Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands).

This map, compiled by Dr. Brad Weatherbee and Lucy Howey, shows the tracks of all seven sharks in the first three months after they were tagged (August-October 2009).

At this time, all of the tigers are still checking in with us via their satellite tags, so we will continue to track their movements throughout 2010. Stay tuned for more updates.

NOTE: To see individual tracking maps for five of the tiger sharks, as well as photos of the team safely catching, tagging and releasing the tigers, visit the “Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Scientific Expedition: Bermuda” photo album on my Facebook page.

Cheers!

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