SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ New technology developed at the University of Rhode Island (URI) is providing an up-close-and-personal view of sharks in the deepest parts of the ocean.
URI Assistant Professor Brennan Phillips has been recording sharks off the coast of Bermuda and the Bahamas for the past few years using a device that he designed locally.
“There is nothing else like them that are out there in the world,” Phillips said.
Phillips said his recording device is inexpensive compared to standard ocean research equipment.
“They just have bait, and some lights, and a camera,” Phillips explained. “So it’s as simple as it can possibly get, and that thing just sits there and let’s whatever comes to the bait happen.”
While tagging and location tracking is useful, actually seeing them up close allows marine biologists to learn more about the behavior and variety of deep-sea sharks.
Phillips said he has been working with shark scientists, as well as a non-profit called “Beneath the Waves,” on his shark recording excursions. He said each trip brings new discoveries and excitement.
“We saw a sharpnose sevengill shark, which is a really cool species,” Phillips said. “As far as we know, it had not been seen in that part of the world.”
On the most recent trip, he joined forces with the Discovery Channel and its Shark Week team.
“It’s really exciting to be part of that and we are excited to share those results when that show airs,” Phillips said.
The episode is scheduled to air on the Discovery Channel this summer.