University of Miami’s Shark Research and Conservation Program, says it discovered a probable great hammerhead nursery in Biscayne Bay.
Dr. Catherine Macdonald, director of the program, told Forbes magazine her team stumbled upon the first baby hammerhead in 2018 during a recent routine coastal shark survey.
“I mean, we weren’t really expecting to, we weren’t out looking for them,” Macdonald said. “We know that this area is a nursery area for some other species we monitor.”
The discovery allowed researchers to initiate a tagging program to unravel the mysteries of how great hammerheads utilize this habitat as they grow and age.
Now Biscayne Bay is identified formally as a probable great hammerhead nursery. Questions remain about the apex predator’s migratory pattern.
Florida’s great hammerheads may cover vast distances throughout the year, with some individuals consistently visiting Bimini in the Bahamas during winter, Forbes reported.
Overfishing, however, has taken a bite out of their population.
“There’s a level of inbreeding,” said Hannah Medd, head of the American Shark Conservancy. “Here are these big animals that make these big movements, and we were making assumptions that they were going to be pretty genetically fit.”