Shark Net is a new iOS app created by a research team led by Stanford University Marine Sciences Professor Barbara Block. The aim of the free app is to enable a direct, personal connection between the public and wild marine animals and to raise public awareness of the ocean wilderness.
The team has been deploying acoustic detection buoys and robotic “wave gliders” in key locations where they know sharks tend to congregate to help track them in real-time. The app receives detection data from these and will notify users when a shark “checks-in” by passing within 1,000 feet of the listening device. Shark Net also features interactive maps, photos, videos, historical tracking data, and 3D interactive models. The models display photo-realistic sharks complete with unique markings and fin shapes that the researchers use to recognize individuals in the wild. Dr. Randall Kochevar, one of the Stanford University developers of the app, said:
People realize this is important, but it’s hard for them to connect on a visceral, personal level to the incredible biodiversity in their own backyard. Through this app, we’re able to put the Blue Serengeti right in their hands. They can follow individual sharks and learn about their lives and feeding habits.