Transcript for Meet 2 scientists trying to forecast shark attacks
We have an ABC news exclusive now about how scientists are trying to predict and prevent shark attacks by tagging sharks an monitoring their movements. Will reeve is there with more. Reporter: Not the best weather today. The conditions are a big foggy but apparently there are ideal or at least predictable conditions for shark attacks based on their behavior. At least that's the theory of two scientists as a part of their documentary "Forecast shark attack" on nat geo shark fest next week. We went out and found some sharks and saw whether the conditions affected them. After a series of shark encounters off the Carolinas in 2015, these two scientists went on a mission. Coming in fast, too fat. Reporter: Now Dr. Greg scomal and Joe merchant are showing us firsthand how they're testing a new theory on forecasting shark attacks. Joe believes a weather condition called a sea breeze may set off a predatory chain reaction bringing nutrient rich deep water closer to the surface attracting tiny marine life that feed on the nutrients. Those small creatures attract larger fish which in turn attract the ocean's largest predators, sharks, on the hunt for prey. At the same time sea breeze conditions make for great beach days drawing sunbathers into the water. We can use the weather to indicate what sharks are doing, we might be able to predict whether or not a shark attack can occur. I'm really excited to work with Greg to show him my hypothesis is correct that the wind and weather have an effect on where shark location is. Reporter: They say sea breeze at the sites of many of those attacks was a factor. Lead the way. So far the two have gathered data in the Bahamas and today the research continues in cape cod. What are we hoping for. We'll get out of this inlet here and that's the primary hunting area for the white sharks and we're hoping we'll see one and then get a tag in it. What level of confidence do you have that one day you'll be able to forecast when sharks are going to be near humans? I am very confident. Reporter: Up above a spotter plane stalks our target. He is at 10:009:30, the plane and he's right over a white shark. So you're working in tandem with a plane who is seeing the sharks. Right. So we are going as fast as we can to find the shark that the plane spotted from above. Finally, oh, I see it. I see it. A nine-foot great shark feet from an isolated beach. This is close to where humans would be. Oh, my god. Look how big that is. Greg takes his tagging pole and waits for his moment. We're tagging a shark. Oh, wow. Got it. Ooh, there's the fin. Once the tag is in it we'll start learning from that fish. One thing we're trying to do, get a sense of what drives their certainly it could be weather conditions, water temperature so we're testing all these various factors to see if there's any patterns including Joe's ideas that drive the behavior of these sharks. Reporter: Sharks like James, a 14-footer and a regular at this beach every summer. He's dead ahead this. Is a nice big fish. This is a real shark. Oh! Reporter: There have been dozens of shark sightings this summer and many more around the country. The ultimate goal of Joe and Greg's partnership, to make people smarter and safer about potential attacks. Nat geo's shark fest kicks off this Sunday and runs for three whole weeks and on Thursday, July 18th you can watch Greg and Joe in "Forecast shark attack," What was the moment like when you saw that great white. It was mind blowing. It was surreal. You can't really comprehend. This animal, this creature you've seen growing up but to be feet away. Look at the thing I'm on right now. I'm above the ocean and you're standing here and there's this apex predator just swimming languidly and peacefully right below you and reminds you of the power and beauty of nature. That would not be the word I would used. I was on the boat so it was powerful and beautiful. If I was in the water it would have been a different story. A different word. Skipper John keeping us safe here. Good crew you have with you. Great job, will, thank you.
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