"Lydia" the great white shark aboard the OCEARCH research vessel during a tagging expedition.
Credit: OCEARCH/Robert Snow
The great white shark dubbed Lydia by the researchers who tagged and are tracking her has been seen heading toward the United Kingdom for the past several days. But the shark has now changed course and is heading northwest, according to the latest data gathered by the scientists, who track the fish at the nonprofit Ocearch.
The 14-foot, 2,000-pound fish is the first great white on record to cross the mid-Atlantic ridge, starting her journey from Florida one year ago. Lydia was fitted with a satellite tag last March as part of a project to better understand the life cycle, health and reproductive behavior of great whites.
And, in fact, Lydia may be pregnant, Chris Fischer, the head of the expedition, told BBC News.
"If I had to guess, I would guess that Lydia is pregnant, and that she has been out in the open ocean gestating her babies, and that this spring she will lead us to where those baby white sharks are born — the nursery," Fischer said.
Fischer's guess was that the nursery may be somewhere in the Mediterranean, near Turkey, he said, adding that it was also possible that Lydia could turn around at any moment and even head back to Florida.
Everyone can track the movements of Lydia and other sharks using Ocearch's Global Shark Tracker. Over the past several days Brits have been closely watching Lydia's path to see whether she would reach their coastal waters. However, the latest data suggest the great white may have changed her mind. "Appears as if #lydiathesharkdidn't like the look of the UK," one Twitter user said.
Ocearch scientists tag sharks aboard a custom-built research vessel equipped with a hydraulic platform that can lift sharks out of the water. The researchers fitted Lydia with a satellite tag to track her itinerary, and attached an accelerometer to her fin, which enables them to follow every movement and tilt of the shark's body. [See Video of the Shark Trapping & Tagging]
Nearly 150 sharks, including hammerheads, tigers and other species, have been tagged so far in the Ocearch project.