Steven Spielberg's 1975 blockbuster "Jaws" made great white sharks into new, terrifying celebrities. Despite their much-preferred diet of fish and seals, the animals were reimagined as man-eating monsters and became a popular target of human hunters.
Great white shark populations crashed.
In the video above, science communicator Derek Muller takes us onboard and on deck with the Australia-based Fox Shark Research Foundation as they work to protect the recovering populations through observation and education.
The mission of the day was to tag sharks with small satellite-enabled devices to track them as they traveled, and maybe grab a few tissue samples. The video's glimpse into the underwater world of the great white shark is just an incredibly surreal bonus.
"We have to find out how many sharks are out there. We have to find out where they travel to, where they breed -- that's one of the holy grails that no one knows ... And if you can't protect sharks in those key areas, you're not really going to have much of an impact across the population as a whole," explained Dr. Rachel Robbins, founder and researcher at the foundation.
We're not sure we'd be as brave as Muller while being lowered into the water near a hungry shark, but we're glad that there are researchers (and science communicators) who are.