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A Tunnel to the Twilight Zone: Blue sharks ride deep-swirling currents to the ocean’s midwater at mealtime

Last year, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington (UW) discovered that when white sharks are ready to feast, they ride large, swirling ocean currents known as eddies to fast-track their way to the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters deep (656 to 3280 feet) containing the largest fish biomass on Earth. Now, according to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists are seeing a similar activity with blue sharks, which dive through these natural, spinning tunnels at mealtime. The eddies draw warm water deep into the twilight zone where temperatures are normally considerably colder, allowing blue sharks to forage across areas of the open ocean that are often characterized by low prey abundance in surface waters.

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Training the Next Generation of Women Scientists

In a small room on the sub-level of the Fisheries Teaching and Research Building, families and friends crowd together, not unlike the countless jars of fish that pack the nearby shelves. In the center of the room is a table arranged with colorful posters and a group of girls who are excitedly answering questions. The eager onlookers are here to support their students, daughters, and friends, who are taking part in the Burke Museum’s Girls in Science (GiS) program. This science-fair style celebration is an opportunity for this quarter’s group of high school girls to present their findings after a rigorous six-week course where they identified “new” species.

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Exploring Our Watery World at UW’s Aquatic Science Open House

On May 4th, the University of Washington held its second annual Aquatic Science Open House. Seattle-area families, students, and teachers were invited to explore the institution’s marine and freshwater science programs and interact with researchers. The event was organized by the Students Explore Aquatic Sciences (SEAS) outreach group based in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) and the Academic and Recreational Graduate Oceanographers (ARGO) outreach group based in the School of Oceanography.

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