OCEARCH is an ocean data-collection organization that has tagged and collected samples from hundreds of sharks, dolphins, seals and other animals.
The group is using the data to learn about migration patterns and uncover previously unknown details about shark lives.
In October 2019, OCEARCH caught and tagged a male shark they named Ironbound off Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
By late December his tracker showed the 12-foot, 4-inch long shark had traveled 1,473 miles down the US East Coast to Key Biscayne, near Miami, OCEARCH said at the time.
Great white sharks are the world's largest predatory fish, according to the World Wildlife Federation, and are known to rip chunks out of their prey, which are swallowed whole.
Despite their fearsome reputation, the WWF says the sharks are a vulnerable species and their numbers are decreasing.
14 endangered or threatened species that play crucial roles
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been petitioned to determine the endangered status of monarch butterflies, which pollinate wildflowers that support ecosystems.
The tree from which wine corks come is home to endangered species like the Iberian lynx and Iberian Imperial Eagle, according to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. The industry that makes wine corks is environmentally sustainable and provides a home for these creatures, but the rise in artificial wine corks threatens the trees and the shelter they create. While the trees themselves aren’t endangered, threats to the cork industry threaten the endangered species that call these trees home.
Many bat species consume insects, including agricultural pests. Many also pollinate plants and disperse seeds. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists 24 bat species as critically endangered, three as endangered and 104 as vulnerable.
As a top predator, sharks maintain population levels in their environment. Shark populations are threatened by overfishing and bycatch (being caught accidentally by fishers fishing for other species). Scalloped and great hammerhead sharks are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Between $235 billion and $577 billion in annual food production relies on pollinators like bees. Colony collapse disorder and pesticides threaten bee populations, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Although many species of bees are not officially endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added seven species of bees native to Hawaii to the endangered species list in 2016.
Many large whales serve their ecosystem by managing populations and distributing nutrients by feeding deep in the ocean and disposing of waste closer to the surface, according to the University of Vermont. Six of the 13 great whale species are listed as endangered.
Cacti are an important source of food and water to desert animals. Illegal collection of seeds and plants threatens cacti, and so does habitat loss. The IUCN lists 25 species of cacti as endangered and 27 as critically endangered.
The African teak is a tree that grows up to about 50 yards tall and is used for boat building, joinery, flooring and decoration, according to WWF. It is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Gorillas are important to biodiversity, spreading seeds of the fruit they eat as they roam through large areas. All subspecies of gorilla are considered either endangered or critically endangered by the IUCN.
There are 22 coral species listed as threatened and three listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Coral reefs not only provide habitats for an entire ecosystem, but they also protect coastlines from erosion and storm damage and provide nutrients to marine life.
Sea otters are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are considered vital to their ecosystem, partially because they eat sea urchins, which would otherwise destroy kelp forests, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Tuna is a highly commercially valuable fish. Some species, particularly the endangered bluefin tuna, have been hit hard by overfishing.
At the top of the food pyramid in the arctic, polar bears play an important role in managing marine populations. Their International Union for Conservation of Nature status is vulnerable, one step above endangered.
Similar to gorillas, orangutans improve biodiversity by spreading seeds of fruit they eat. The Tapanuli orangutan is the most endangered great ape, with no more than 800 alive, according to the WWF.
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