Shark Tracker Shows Lydia The Great White Crossing The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, A Historic First

By Josh Lieberman on March 10, 2014 6:37 PM EDT

Lydia, a tagged great white shark, has become the first such shark observed crossing the Atlantic. PHOTO: OCEARCH Facebook

Lydia, a great white shark tagged by scientists in March 2013, has become the first tagged great white shark to cross the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Lydia's crossing of the underwater mountain range has come as a surprise to Greg Skomal, the leader of team that tagged Lydia last year, who said that although great whites may cross the Atlantic Ocean all the time, "this is the first time we're actually able to observe it."

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Since being tagged in Jacksonville, Fla., last year, Lydia has traveled farther than any tagged shark before her. (Check out video of the insane tagging process below.) Moving at speeds of up to 35 MPH, the 14-foot, 2,000-pound great white has traveled almost 20,000 miles. Lydia's unpredictable journey--which you can track here--has Skomal puzzled.

"I have no idea what to expect from her next, said Skoman. "I've been working with sharks for a very long time now and I have never seen anything like this. It's anyone's guess where she is going to go next but she has been heading east so she might continue to do so."

Lydia has taken an unconventional route to get across the Atlantic.

Skomal said that based on earlier data, he imagined that Lydia would move along coastal areas more, but this has not been the case (as you can see in the image above). Instead, "a couple of sharks like Lydia...are demonstrating some broader movement, and we're surprised," Skomal told Global News. "But I suppose we really shouldn't be because we don't really know that much about the species to begin with."

Every time Lydia surfaces, she sends a ping to the researchers. In the past 72 hours, Lydia has swum 248 miles, with her most recent ping coming in at 9:00 AM today. Lydia is currently less than 800 miles from the coast of Ireland. Will she continue north into ever-colder waters, or go hang out with the marine animals of Ireland? Will she suddenly veer south and then east to meet up with the famous tweeting sharks of Western Australia? Given her unpredictable route, it's anyone's guess (okay, the latter is highly improbable), but be sure to check the shark tracker to continue following the journey.

READ MORE:

One-Quarter Of The World's Sharks And Rays Are At Risk Of Extinction, IUCN Study Finds

Great White Sharks Live Way Longer Than We Thought: Jaws Could Have Been In His Seventies

'Extinct' Shark Species Rediscovered: Researchers Find 47 Smoothtooth Blacktip Sharks In Middle Eastern Fish Markets

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