Local Biologist Behind Shark Tracking App

Michael Domeier Tracking Great White Sharks Near San Diego-Area Coast

A local marine biologist who has been tracking great white sharks has found an inventive way to share his research with the public.

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Fallbrook-based marine biologist Michael Domeier has been tracking great white sharks found not far from the San Diego coast for several years. He said his research has provided new insights into the movements of a once largely misunderstood predator.

"These sharks are going way out into the middle of the ocean for very long periods of time," he told 10News. "That was a shocker."

Domeier said it was a shocker because sharks have been thought of as coastal animals that troll for seals, but his tracking data tells a different story.

An app called Expedition White Shark allows users to follow Domeier's shark tracking data.

Color-coded fins show positions transmitted while the sharks' dorsal fins were above the water. Users can follow sharks by name and there is even a map of documented shark attacks along the coast, showing September through November as the most dangerous time in the area.

Domeier said he has learned great whites swim near people more often than they even know, although they are not common targets.

"Human beings are definitely not the meal of choice of white sharks," he said.

Domeier said he is aware that his tagging technique is controversial. Some have called it animal cruelty but he said knowledge is how he helps the great whites.

"These sharks are impacting the conservation status of their entire species by allowing us to learn from them," he said. "A white shark should be respected just like a lion, a tiger or a bear."

The Expedition White Shark app costs $3.99. Domeier says any proceeds will go to his nonprofit Marine Conservation Science Institute For Research.

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