Rhode Island Researchers Tracking 8 Young Great White Sharks

WAKEFIELD, R.I. (AP) — Researchers are hoping that eight recently released young great white sharks will yield insights into some of the questions scientists still have about the famous species.

The sharks were released after being tagged with tracking devices by researchers this summer at the Atlantic Shark Institute of Wakefield in Rhode Island, officials announced Tuesday. The devices will allow the scientists to locate the fish for 10 years and learn more about their movement and patterns, The Providence Journal reported.

“It’s the most white sharks that have been tagged in this study to date and will aid considerably in filling in some of the missing pieces for this iconic species of shark,” said Jon F. Dodd, executive director of the institute, which has been working with the O’Seas Conservation Foundation. “In several parts of the world the great white shark is determined to be critically endangered and that makes this research all the more vital.”

The most important part of the tagging was that most of the sharks were young, Dodd said

In the last few years, about 300 sharks have been tagged but most were older. This time around, the youngest shark is a few weeks old, Dodd said.

“Largely absent from the majority of those tags have been the much younger white sharks, and much about their behavior and habits is still largely unknown,” Dodd said.

Researchers also said that they've tagged the smallest great white shark ever, a 3.5-foot-long (1-meter) female.