Cameras attached to great white sharks have revealed the infamous predators hunting in densely packed kelp forests for the first time.
Scientists previously assumed the seaweed provided a safe refuge for seals to hide in, but the new footage suggests this may not be the case.
“The film we collected gives us a new perspective on this species,” said Oliver Jewell, a PhD student at Murdoch University in the western Australian city of Perth. “We can see how they interact with their surroundings in real time, and they are able to make some pretty spectacular 180 degree turns in the kelp forest.”
The scientists managed to clamp cameras to the backs of eight sharks in South Africa, after enticing them in with a meal of fish chum.
They were amazed by the versatility of the large sharks as they cruised through the kelp, as the common wisdom was that they tended to remain outside to ambush emerging seals.
However, the team did note that no kills were actually captured on film, suggesting the sharks were not as adept at hunting as they would be in open water.
Their results were published in the journal Biology Letters.