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Professor searches for Great White Guadalupe Kill Zone on Shark Week

Professor searches for Great White Guadalupe Kill Zone on Shark Week

July 25, 2019 at 10:07am

Assistant professor Yannis Papastamatiou will go in search of the Guadalupe Kill Zone on Shark Week's “Great White Kill Zone: Guadalupe,” which airs 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, on the Discovery Channel.

Guadalupe Island, located 150 miles off the coast of Baja California, is a hot spot for great white sharks that congregate to target the thriving seal populations. The silent hunters stalk their prey and launch surprise attacks. Oddly, an attack has never been witnessed in this specific hotspot. Adding to the mystery, the waters off Guadalupe Island are crystal clear and the sharks are in plain sight. Hotspots are defined as the locations where sharks traditionally gather to feed and no one knows where Guadalupe’s lies.

Papastamatiou, along with FIU graduate student Sarah Luongo, set out to record white shark hunting behaviors using cutting-edge technology and three kinds of special cameras to solve the mystery and locate the Guadalupe Kill Zone.

The episode was filmed on location around Guadalupe Island, as well as at FIU.

Papastamatiou is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. With close to 60 research publications, he’s one of the world’s leading shark behavioral ecologists. Papastamatiou’s use of new tag technologies on species ranging from pelagic oceanic whitetips to home-ranging reef sharks has advanced the field of predator ecology and led to evidence-based marine protected area zoning. His work has been featured on Discovery Channel, National Geographic and BBC.

This year, Papastamatiou also appeared in “Cannibal Sharks” on National Geographic’s SharkFest with Mike Heithaus, dean of the College of Arts, Sciences & Education, and Demian Chapman, associate professor of marine sciences.