Tag

Sharks

Guadalupe Island White Shark ID Project

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks, Wildlife

I had an interesting conversation with Nicole Nasby Lucas of the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research yesterday. Ms. Lucas and PIER co-founder Michael Domeier PhD have been conducting a capture/recapture study on great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) at Guadalupe Island, Mexico, building a database of identification photos and video of white sharks that inhabit the island. To date PIER has 73 individual sharks in their database, and the count increases each season. PIER also places a small number of satellite tags on Guadalupe white sharks to learn where they are going once they leave the island. Interestingly, some of the sharks tagged at Guadalupe Island swim all the way to the Hawaiian islands, including two of the sharks tagged during the most recent season. By observing the white sharks in this way, the PIER researchers are able to collect evidence about how the sharks utilize the island habitat and their migrations to and from the island.

I have had the good fortune of naming five of the PIER sharks by virtue of being the first photographer to capture each of them on film. The three females are named after my two daughters and my mother (you don’t think I am stupid enough to name one after my wife do you?). The two males are named after the notorious bachelors on Sex in the City: Big and The Russian.

In this case Ms. Lucas was able to link the right side and left side photographs by finding a common element between them: a notched tip on the left side ventral fin. Here she is, Guadalupe Island great white shark #57, “Leslie”:

For more information about PIER’s white shark research at Guadalupe Island, how the identification process works and what scientific publications have resulted from the study, visit the PIER website and see the online catalog.

Keywords: great white shark photos, Carcharodon carcharias photos, Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research

Galapagos Photos

Galapagos Diaries, Sharks, Underwater Life

I have posted 575 new images shot on my latest Galapagos Islands diving trip, a 15-day run on the liveaboard M/V Sky Dancer. We had phenomenal encounters with schools of hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini), literally by the hundreds and thousands on nearly all dives at Wolf and Darwin, not to mention good luck with Galapagos sharks (Carcharhinus galapagensis), Galapagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) and brief looks at marine iguanas underwater. Diving in the central islands was OK, not great, although we did have good fish displays at Cousins and clean water and sunlight at Gordon Rocks.

Scalloped hammerhead shark swims over a reef in the Galapagos Islands.  The hammerheads eyes and other sensor organs are placed far apart on its wide head to give the shark greater ability to sense the location of prey, Sphyrna lewini, Wolf Island

Scalloped hammerhead shark swims over a reef in the Galapagos Islands. The hammerheads eyes and other sensor organs are placed far apart on its wide head to give the shark greater ability to sense the location of prey.
Image ID: 16246
Species: Scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini
Location: Wolf Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos shark, Carcharhinus galapagensis, Wolf Island

Galapagos shark.
Image ID: 16239
Species: Galapagos shark, Carcharhinus galapagensis
Location: Wolf Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Hammerhead sharks, schooling, black and white / grainy, Sphyrna lewini, Darwin Island

Hammerhead sharks, schooling, black and white / grainy.
Image ID: 16254
Species: Scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini
Location: Darwin Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos photos (July 2006)
Galapagos photos (all trips: 1996, 1998, 2006)

Whale Shark Photo, Darwin Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Diaries, Icons, Underwater Life

The Galapagos Islands, an Ecuadorian archipelago straddling the equator in the Eastern Pacific, is a remarkable underwater paradise. The central and southern islands hold a wealth of temperate as well as tropical marine creatures due to the mixing of currents there. However, it is the northern islands of Darwin and Wolf that divers typically look forward to the most on a Galapagos dive trip. These two islands, along with the smaller Roca Redonda, are the best places in the Galapagos — and indeed one of the best places in the world — to encounter whale sharks. On our first dive at Darwin in 1996 the group had left me behind, riding the current back to the anchorage, while I spent my air exploring the area where we were dropped at Darwin’s Arch. I met up with a young whale shark who happened along and allowed me to swim alongside him for 20 minutes taking photos. Eventually the shark and I caught up with the rest of the dive group, and as each diver noticed us he would swim over and join. Eventually everyone got a good look at the huge shark.

A whale shark swims through the open ocean in the Galapagos Islands.  The whale shark is the largest shark on Earth, but is harmless eating plankton and small fish, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island

A whale shark swims through the open ocean in the Galapagos Islands. The whale shark is the largest shark on Earth, but is harmless eating plankton and small fish.
Image ID: 01520
Species: Whale shark, Rhincodon typus
Location: Darwin Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

During our several visits to Darwin Island (we’ve made three trips there in ’96, ’98 and ’06), we have dove at the Arch repeatedly. In 1996 our group saw a whale shark on every dive there including a final dive at the arch was highlighted by a visit from an enormous whale shark, probably 40 feet or more in length:

Whale shark, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island

Whale shark.
Image ID: 01503
Species: Whale shark, Rhincodon typus
Location: Darwin Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Keywords: whale shark photo, Galapagos, Rhincodon typus, Darwin Island, underwater.

Lemon Shark Photo, Northern Bahamas

Bahamas, Sharks, Underwater Photography, Wildlife

On our recent trip to the Northern Bahamas in search of sharks, we encountered lots of lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) alongside the tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier). The lemon sharks were comfortable coming in for a close look and afforded literally hundreds of good photo opportunities on a single 90 minute dive. Some of the lemons were accompanied by up to a dozen live sharksuckers (Echeneis naucrates), a type of remora. Once in a while one of the sharksuckers would peel of its lemon shark host and swim around us for a while. After a while we began to ignore the lemons in an effort to keep our eyes on the considerably more impressive tiger sharks. Here are a few shots of the lemons:

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers.
Image ID: 10752
Species: Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates
Location: Bahamas

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers.
Image ID: 10753
Species: Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates
Location: Bahamas

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers.
Image ID: 10754
Species: Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates
Location: Bahamas

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers.
Image ID: 10756
Species: Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates
Location: Bahamas

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates

Lemon shark with live sharksuckers.
Image ID: 10757
Species: Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, Echeneis naucrates
Location: Bahamas

Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris

Lemon shark.
Image ID: 10758
Species: Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris
Location: Bahamas

Lemon shark and photographer Jim Abernethy, Negaprion brevirostris

Lemon shark and photographer Jim Abernethy.
Image ID: 10760
Species: Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris
Location: Bahamas

Keywords: lemon shark photo, Negaprion brevirostris, Northern Bahamas, lemon sharks, lemon shark pictures, unde

Tiger Shark and Keith Grundy, Northern Bahamas

Bahamas, Sharks, Underwater Photography

We recently spent 8 days on the MV Shearwater in the Northern Bahamas, in search of various species of sharks to swim with and photograph. The most impressive of the ones we encountered were the tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier). They ranged in size from 9 feet to perhaps 14 feet, big enough to be quite intimidating. One large one in particular made a good photo subject as it was willing to approach the divers closely. Here is underwater photographer Keith Grundy being treated to a close look at a 13 foot tiger shark that Shearwater skipper and owner Jim Abernethy named “Emma”:

Tiger shark and photographer Keith Grundy, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark and photographer Keith Grundy.
Image ID: 10649
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Keywords: tiger shark photo, Keith Grundy, Bahamas, underwater photograph, Caleocerdo cuvier.

Caribbean Reef Shark Photo

Sharks, Underwater Life

These Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) were photographed a few weeks ago in the northern Bahamas:

Caribbean reef shark, ampullae of Lorenzini visible on snout, Carcharhinus perezi

Caribbean reef shark, ampullae of Lorenzini visible on snout.
Image ID: 10550
Species: Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi
Location: Bahamas

Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi

Caribbean reef shark.
Image ID: 10549
Species: Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi
Location: Bahamas

Caribbean reef shark swims over a coral reef, Carcharhinus perezi

Caribbean reef shark swims over a coral reef.
Image ID: 10552
Species: Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi
Location: Bahamas

Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi

Caribbean reef shark.
Image ID: 10555
Species: Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi
Location: Bahamas

Nikon D100, 12-24mm f/4 lens, submersible housing, two Sea and Sea YS90 strobes, bait.

Keywords: Caribbean reef shark photo, Carcharhinus perezi, underwater phot

Photo of Blue Shark and Yellowtail

California, San Diego, Sharks, Underwater Life

Some years ago I was freediving around an open ocean kelp paddy with Mike Johnson. We were photographing a few blue sharks that we had attracted to the paddy with a small bucket of chum. Two small yellowtail jacks were flanking one of the blue sharks, swimming closely beside it and repeatedly brushing along he shark.

North Pacific Yellowtail brushing against blue shark, Seriola lalandi, Prionace glauca, San Diego, California

North Pacific Yellowtail brushing against blue shark.
Image ID: 01000
Species: North Pacific Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi, Prionace glauca
Location: San Diego, California, USA

I believe the yellowtail were bumping the shark in order to remove parasites against the rough skin of the shark. The shark seemed bothered by this but there was nothing the shark could do — the yellowtail are so much quicker and more agile that the blue shark had little hope of actually biting them or chasing them off. This behaviour persisted for about 10 minutes, at which point the blue shark probably became exasperated at the yellowtail that were pestering him and left. Open ocean about 10 miles offshore of San Diego.

Keywords: blue shark photo, yellowtail, kelp paddy, underwater photo, Prionace glauca.

Smiling Great White Shark

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks

One great white shark photo on our website that is viewed more than almost all others is this one:

A great white shark underwater.  A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Carcharodon carcharias

A great white shark underwater. A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe).
Image ID: 10119
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

It appears that the great white shark in this photo is smiling at the cameraman, or is perhaps preparing to chomp the guy. In fact, this great white shark had just taken a mouthful of bait and was opening and closing its mouth in order to free bits of the bait from its teeth or gill slits. The exposure was made just as the shark happened to have both an open mouth and a gaze directed at the divers in the cage. Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

Keywords: great white shark photo, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island.

Blue Shark Eye to Eye

California, San Diego, Sharks, Underwater Life

Blue shark showing ampullae of Lorenzini, eye and small portion of nictitating membrane, Prionace glauca, San Diego, California

Blue shark showing ampullae of Lorenzini, eye and small portion of nictitating membrane.
Image ID: 01076
Species: Blue shark, Prionace glauca
Location: San Diego, California, USA

This is a photograph of a blue shark, Prionace glauca. We bait for them offshore of San Diego, anywhere from 5 to 20 miles offshore (however far it took to get to clean blue water) and then wait for them to show up. We get in the water and swim around with them, usually with just freediving gear to remain unencumbered and agile, hoping they come close enough for really good pictures. At times we tie the boat off to a kelp paddy, allowing us to frame the sharks against something other than simple blue water. The best lens to shoot these sharks is a Nikonos 15mm lens, it is tack sharp in situations like this — check out the pores on the shark’s nose — and I don’t think any housed lens can beat it, plus framing these sharks properly is no problem with a Nikonos’ rangefinder method. The underside of a blue shark is quite white and very reflective, so stopping down to f/11 – f/22 is required in many cases, which is just as well as it helps to balance the sunburst in the background. This is essentially a silhouette exposure with strobe fill, tiny little manual MCD strobes were used, with diffusers.

Keywords: blue shark photo, shark picture, underwater photograph, Prionace glauca.

Sex and the Single Shark

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks, Underwater Life, Wildlife

In the world of wildlife study, in which efforts are made to identify and track individual animals over time, researchers can fall prey to the temptation to name their subjects. There is considerable debate about the merits of this, as some scientists feel that assigning names to the animal subjects of a study causes the researchers to lose a certain amount of objectivity in the course of their observations. We have had the good luck of working with humpback whale researcher Dan R. Salden for a number of years, and observed that he made sure to always identify “his” humpbacks with an ID number rather than a descriptive name in an effort to avoid developing an attachment to them. However, it is unavoidable that over many years of work some individual animals receive a nickname in addition to their simple ID number. In the case of Dr. Salden’s whales, one such animal was “Mr. November” who had 30 days of fame when a photograph of his fluke appeared on the November page of a wall calendar.

We have been allowed to name five research subjects. It turns out that in some research efforts, the “right” to name an animal subject is given to the first person to photograph or videotape the animal. In this case, the animals happen to be great white sharks which I photographed and videotaped at Guadalupe Island. Three of them are females, big and beautiful sharks two of which are now named for my daughters who are happy to have the distinction of being the only students at school after whom killers have been named (the other female is named for my mother!). The remaining two are males, real brutes and good looking to boot, whom we decided to name for two notable lotharios of Sex in the City fame: Big and The Russian.

A great white shark underwater.  A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Carcharodon carcharias

A great white shark underwater. A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe).
Image ID: 10111
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico