The Discovery Channel’s annual great white fest may be winding down, but shark biologists live every week like it’s Shark Week—and they’ve got plenty of regularly scheduled programming to look forward to. The first-ever global survey of sharks, rays, skates, and their habitats kicks off in August. About a quarter of these animals are threatened with extinction, but data gaps make it hard to come up with solid conservation plans.
The so-called Global FinPrint initiative hinges on baited underwater video traps in 400 remote locations across three poorly studied regions: the Indo-Pacific, tropical western Atlantic, and off eastern Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean. For the next three years, smelly fish attached to cameras on the sea floor will lure marine life in for a close-up, giving researchers from Florida International University, Stony Brook University, Australian Institute of Marine Science, and James Cook University an in-depth look into their numbers and diversity. In the meantime, we can watch their preliminary footage—which is surprising adorable.
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