Chris Lowe knows what it takes to study sharks and their behavior along the California coastline: education, high-tech research tools and funds. A lot of funds.
Lowe, director of Long Beach State’s Shark Lab, can continue his renown research largely because of a $3.75 million investment by the State of California. The latest state budget included funding for the Shark Lab, which conducts white shark research that directly impacts the safety of beach goers as well as provides insight into sharks. Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) helped secure the funding.
“We are very excited about receiving this state funding to continue and expand our on-going research on white sharks off California and to work with our partners, including lifeguards, police and fire departments,” Lowe said.
Additionally, Lowe said the funding will be used to increase the university’s collaborative beach shark monitoring program and develop new shark education programs.
“With more sharks along our coastline, the need for answers about their behavior and public safety have been growing,” he said.
“Historically, we were limited by technology that we could use to study these amazing animals, but now we have an amazing suite of tools at our disposal to answering many of the important questions about their behavior. This funding will be essential in enabling us to deploy these tools to unraveling the mystery behind these ocean predators so that lifeguards can better advise the public.”
Lowe said the money will help fund underwater robots that can record sharks’ behavior and drones that can search for great whites from the skies. The Shark Lab also will be able to purchase more receivers and tags that can track sharks’ migration.