Researchers are hoping to learn more about white shark interaction from drone footage that captured two sharks interacting with each other off the coast of Chatham on Monday.
Marine researchers have seen “plenty of evidence” that suggests that white sharks off of Massachusetts beaches aggressively interact with each other, said Greg Skomal, senior fisheries scientist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries.
Skomal said he often sees bite marks and scars on male and female sharks, but this video is some of the first visual evidence of one of these interactions taking place.
“We have assumed for years based on those marks that these kinds of social interactions are happening, but we’d never seen one before,” Skomal said.
The video, which was taken by a private individual, was posted on the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Twitter account Tuesday morning.
FIRST FOOTAGE EVER! Drone footage of an interaction between two white sharks off the coast of Chatham yesterday, taken by Nate Jensen. Our local shark science team is hoping to see the high res version to learn more about the interaction. pic.twitter.com/L0cRedh7fv— Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (@A_WhiteShark) July 9, 2019
The footage could potentially show some kind of dominance hierarchy, a territorial response, or even a reproductive interaction, Skomal said.
“We’re actually looking the video over and doing some deeper analysis to determine who these individuals were, what sizes they were, were they male or female, that kind of thing,” Skomal said.
Skomal said he won’t be able to draw any major conclusions from the video, but it’s “exciting” nonetheless.
The conservancy reported that Skomal tagged three white sharks Monday — two off Nauset Beach and one off Chatham. The research team also saw two predations off of Monomoy, according to another tweet from the conservancy.
The tweet included a photo of a shark and what appeared to be the top half of a seal.