Sea Education Association to Host ‘Voyage to the White Shark Cafe’ Public Lecture

WOODS HOLE – The Sea Education Association (SEA) is hosting a free public lecture this month.

SEA will host “Voyage to the White Shark Café,” with Professor of Oceanography Northeastern University Jan Witting on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2:00 p.m.

Thanks to the use of electronic tags and blue ocean research voyages, researchers are shedding new light on the behavior of great white sharks.

After feeding along the West Coast, adult great white sharks join in a massive, long-distance migration every winter to a remote sub-tropical patch of ocean midway between Hawaii and Baja that researchers have dubbed the “White Shark Café.”  Researchers know about this migration thanks to the use of satellite tags.

However, the question of why they go there remains unanswered.

Is there something special about this tract of the open Pacific Ocean that attracts the sharks?

Witting recently returned from a research cruise aboard the R/V Falkor with the Schmidt Ocean Institute, where a multi-institute team of scientists used an unprecedented array of tools from autonomous drones to ROVs to study the ocean around the sharks to shed new light on this mysterious pilgrimage.

Witting joined the Sea Education Association in 2001 after receiving his BS and his PhD in Marine Biology at Northeastern University, with a research focus on coral feeding ecology, an important link in benthic-pelagic coupling in tropical waters.

Jan’s background includes designing and constructing autonomous underwater vehicles, teaching at the Discovery Bay Marine Lab in Jamaica and at Northeastern University, and extensive participation in research cruises in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

Witting will deliver the lecture at James L. Madden Center Lecture Hall, located at 171 Woods Hole Road in Falmouth.

By TIM DUNN, News Center 

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