Great whites and other sharks travel on "ocean highways," according to new research that is helping to define the routes.
Mapping out the routes is enabling scientists to better understand the behavior of these apex ocean predators and to improve conservation tactics. Ongoing research also shows how busy both the sharks and these highways can be.
"The sharks do show repeated travels along the same general paths, which is quite amazing since there are few 'road signs' in the open ocean," Mahmood Shivji, director of Nova Southeastern University's Guy Harvey Research Institute and the Save Our Seas Shark Research Center, told Discovery News.
As for how the sharks know where to go, he added, "The main current hypothesis is that they use the earth's magnetic field to navigate, like some birds do."
Great whites are among the most well-traveled sharks, swimming for thousands of miles with relative ease. In the winter, they migrate from the California and Baja coasts to a mid-Pacific open water area dubbed "The White Shark Café."