SeaWorld: A Friend of Sharks

Dr. Gisele Montano of SeaWorld has teamed forces with the global organization OCEARCH to investigate shark reproduction. Doctor Montano, who is a reproductive physiologist, joined OCEARCH on a study trip in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Carolinas. The trip was part of a continuing partnership between SeaWorld and OCEARCH.

While Dr. Montano’s primary focus is on reproduction, the overall concept “It’s an honor to be a part of such a fantastic relationship between OCEARCH and SeaWorld,” she added. She was allowed to work with sharks in the wild as part of the OCEARCH study. “I think the partnership is really essential because we are able to come here – not just myself – but the other vets in the park – to have accessibility to species that we aren’t otherwise able to work with when we operate in our parks,” she explained. The collaboration permits the scientific researchers the chance to study sharks on the OCEARCH platform.

Dr. Montano and her team gathered samples from more than 20 distinct sharks during the voyage, and the data will be used to help safeguard the broader white shark population. Protecting breeding sites, nurseries, and feeding grounds is a major emphasis of the initiative in order to help the species thrive in the long run.

“If we want subsequent generations to view what we see now, we need to find a way.”

Are Carolina’s Waters a Reproductive Ground?

Dr. Montano wants to know if white sharks breed in the seas off the coast of North and South Carolina. The previous study with tagged sharks has revealed that both male and female great whites spend significant time wintering along the coastlines of the Carolinas throughout their lifetimes. The ocean currents and water temperatures offer a wide variety of feeding possibilities.

While the sharks appear to enjoy the region, additional research is needed to determine whether these waters are the main breeding sites for sharks. Weather conditions are critical for study excursions, and further visits are planned to further our understanding of the area.

On this voyage, Dr. Montano’s specialized job included conducting ultrasounds and taking samples from the male sharks. Dr. Mo’s objective was to track data for all of the shark’s reproductive organs and also to tell if the males were mature and active reproductively.

OCEARCH and SeaWorld have similar missions.

For the past five years, SeaWorld and OCEARCH have been working together. Both organizations place a high value on educating both adults and children about marine life, as well as the necessity of research, conservation, and rehabilitation activities. Furthermore, both groups are concerned about the ocean’s and its people’s health.

Research: A shark’s best friend.

Dr. Montano and OCEARCH will continue to research great whites and other creatures of the ocean. The study is significant because “the more knowledge that we are able to access, the better we can safeguard them.”

This partnership has not only advanced our understanding of white sharks as a deep-sea species but also of their current environment and the sort of habitat the sharks require to survive in the future.

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