In 2013, WHOI engineers took a specially equipped REMUS SharkCam underwater vehicle to Guadalupe Island off the West Coast of Mexico. Their goal was to track and film great white sharks in the wild using special acoustic tags that the vehicle could home in on and follow.
REMUS SharkCam was equipped with six cameras: 5 mounted on the nose and one facing the rear of the vehicle. This gave scientists a close-up, panoramic view of great white sharks in the wild -- but the hunter soon became the hunted.
In the blink of an eye, a massive great white chomps powerfully on the SharkCam. Some sharks displayed signs of territorial behavior toward REMUS SharkCam.
In what are most likely predatory attacks, sharks take advantage of the clear water to lurk in the darkness below the vehicle, then swim up suddenly and bite it on the tail or mid-section. This is the same way sharks hunt seals near Guadalupe Island.
REMUS SharkCam recorded dozens of interactions with great white sharks and survived several predatory attacks.
"We lost our deposit," one team member says.
Video from REMUS SharkCam is providing scientists with their first close-up view of predatory behavior by sharks in the wild.
It is also helping reveal previously unknown details about the strategies that sharks use to hunt and interact with their prey -- and showing us the majesty and grace of the ocean's top predator in its natural environment.
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