Great white sharks are arguably the most widely-known shark species, but unfortunately, they're not known for their roles as apex predators that are crucial to healthy ocean ecosystems. Instead, some have characterized them as vicious monsters of the deep, and the media over-sensationalizes rare attacks-which doesn't help conservation efforts.
Despite their reputation, scientists recently delivered good news about great white sharks: Populations in the North Atlantic Ocean are rebounding, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The federal agency compiled white shark sightings over a 200-year period for the region in the most comprehensive study to-date, and recently published their results in a paper.
"We have improved our understanding of white sharks in the Northwest Atlantic in recent years through field research and technology," said Nancy Kohler, co-author and program leader of the Apex Predators Program at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), in a press release. "But we still have many questions about life history, population structure and size, behavior, habitat preferences, feeding habits, movements, and migration."