Scientists Use Twitter as a Shark Warning Method
Article by George Norman
On 06 Feb 2014
Here’s another example of how science and technology can help improve our lives.

Scientists in Western Australia put transmitters on more than 300 sharks. When a tagged shark gets too close to the beach, a tweet is sent out by the Twitter account of Surf Life Saving Western Australia.

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Remember that video from 2011 that focused on how Twitter is faster than earthquakes? If you don’t remember it or if you never saw it in the first place, I embedded it below so you can check it out. Now, based on that video, you can say that Twitter can help you prepare for earthquakes. It turns out that Twitter can help you with something else: sharks. And more to the point, it can help you avoid sharks.



It’s not safe to go in the water when sharks are too close for comfort. So this is what scientists in Western Australia did. They fitted more than 300 sharks with transmitters. When the shark gets too close to the beach, within half a mile to be more precise, a signal is sent out and a tweet is automatically sent by the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter account.



As you can tell from the image above, the tweet includes the breed of shark and the rough location where the shark was detected. Twitter followers of Surf Live Saving WA can quickly find out if there’s a shark near their location and, armed with this information, they can stay out of harm’s way.

Six fatal shark attacks took place in Western Australia in the last 2 years. Consequently, the government and local authorities are preoccupied with keeping the beaches safe. In this context, fitting sharks with receivers and using Twitter to warn beachgoers is seen as a good thing. There are concerns though that this could give beachgoers, swimmers, and surfers a safe sense of security.




Tags: Twitter, Australia, scientists, Surf Live Saving, sharks
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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Scientists Use Twitter as a Shark Warning Method
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