Following Mary Lee

In 2012, OCEARCH tagged a female great white shark in Cape Cod. Ever since, Mary Lee has been a celebrity all along the East Coast. On Twitter, she has 90,000 followers. All day fans tweet at her asking for her to stop by, or even for advice. She has been titled the “Greatest Great White.”

Mary Lee is 3,456 pounds and is 16 feet long. Mary Lee does not follow any rules. Since being tracked, Mary has baffled scientists by her unique travel patterns. Before following the popular great white, scientists assumed sharks traveled in straight lines, relocating seasonally. Mary Lee turned those theories upside down.

Between 6:15 AM and 1:00 PM Tuesday morning, Mary Lee swam over 300 nautical miles. The path she swam resembled a bowl of spaghetti noodles. She is constantly all over the place. One Twitter follower commented to Mary Lee that if she were allowed on planes, she would have an impressive amount of frequent flier miles. Trackers on Mary Lee ping onto control towers located along the East Coast whenever her dorsal fin pops above water.

Since instillation, OCEARCH has followed Mary for over 25,000 nautical miles. Mary Lee travels the Atlantic Ocean swimming from Florida to Massachusetts making stops along the way. She spent Christmas in North Carolina, and last recorded splashing around 70 miles off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. Scientists are wondering if she is headed North to deliver baby great whites. New Jersey is known as a shark breeding ground.

Researchers are unsure if Mary Lee travels alone or with friends. OCEARCH tracks two other female great white sharks, Lynn and Mesa Jeanne. Lynn and Mesa Jeanne like to dwell around Ocean City, Maryland, but concidently have never interacted with Mary Lee. Most great white sharks travel in groups, or schools.

Last month, Jim Ware, the voice of @MaryLeeShark on Twitter traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience firsthand how experts tag great white sharks. Ware witnessed several great white males be tagged. Sadly, Mary Lee was not in the area. Ware has also used his social media platform to bring awareness to wildlife conservation efforts.  

You can stay up to date too with Mary Lee by following her on Twitter, @MaryLeeShark or watching her trail the East Coast through http://www.ocearch.org/profile/mary_lee.

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