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Shark Research Project Expands to Study More Cape Cod Beaches

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Center for Coastal Studies
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Bryan Legare, manager of the CCS Shark Ecology Research Program, deploys acoustic receivers in the study area off Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro.

The Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown is expanding its research on the precise movement of sharks off popular Cape Cod beaches.

Three additional beaches will be added to an ongoing project led by seascape ecologist Bryan Legare.

Using closely spaced acoustic receivers at Head of the Meadow and Nauset beaches, Legare is looking at how sharks move in relation to natural features, such as sandbars.

“I'm always curious about what is driving these animals,” he said. “And a lot of it is the habitat that they live in.”

He maps sandbars and troughs of deeper water.

“And then I measure the waves, and the tides, and the currents, to really develop a profile on how the sharks are using the shallow water that we share space in,” he said.

Array Graphic
Acoustic receivers, laid out in a grid, record the presence and position of tagged white sharks as they travel through the area.

Legare plans to add Herring Cove Beach and two others yet to be determined.

The expansion of the project is funded by a three-year grant of $386,000 from the National Park Service, plus $75,000 from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

The Center for Coastal Studies also announced that it has established a new shark ecology research program.

Having that program will allow Legare to devote most of his time to this research, rather than splitting his time among different projects, he said.

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The yellow square highlights the study area off Head of the Meadow Beach in North Truro. The inset shows the position of acoustic receivers relative to the seafloor bathymetry.