Arts, Culture & Media

How sharks find their way

A tiny Pacific island shows up on our radar for today's Geo Quiz. It's a "coral atoll" located 5 degrees north of the equator. That's due south of Hawaii and right where north-south Pacific currents collide.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

That brings plenty of ocean litter, like plastic bottles and floating debris. There's even said to be unexploded World War II ordinance still scattered around the atoll. Luckily, there's hardly anyone around, except for the occasional researcher:

"It's an uninhabited atoll so now there is a research station out there run by the Nature Conservancy and US Fish and Wildlife so its basically just research staff and the waters have lots of fish and sharks and lots of manta rays and its really kind of your quintessential postcard tropical island".

Geo Answer:

… and the island we're looking for is the Palmyra Atoll which is home to countless species of fish including Tiger Sharks that have a natural ability to navigate around their underwater environment. Anchor Marco Werman speaks with marine biologist Yannis Papastamatiou of the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville who's researching how these toothy fish seem to know exactly where they're going.

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