In an attempt to educate San Franciscans about their 11-foot underwater neighbors, the Aquarium of the Bay is hosting a month full of events inspired by the sevengill sharks.
The sevengills are the largest predators in the San Francisco Bay, and the aquarium is introducing the public to them with “Sharktober,” a month devoted to education about the five species of sharks that live in the San Francisco Bay.
Throughout October, the aquarium is featuring shark feeding presentations, live shark touching and shark-themed scavenger hunts.
Tonight, the aquarium is hosting a fundraising party with live music, food and a silent auction.
Saturday, the aquarium will feature a shark film festival and panel discussion with documentary makers and experts. One scheduled panelist survived a shark attack and is now a shark conservationist.
Many of the proceeds will go toward a research project that the aquarium has undertaken with the biotelemetry lab at the University of California at Davis.
The project’s goal is to tag and track the Bay’s sevengill shark population to determine its migration patterns.
“We’re looking at the data to determine they’re using particular parts of the Bay for their nurseries,” aquarium spokeswoman Michele Bernhardt said. “We want to make sure any new construction or dredging wouldn’t disturb nursery grounds. Nobody has ever tried to find this out before.”
In 2008, the aquarium implanted acoustic transmitters in 25 sevengills and installed monitors throughout the Bay. When the sharks swim by, the monitors record which shark has passed, Bernhardt said.
Although it will be another few years before definite movement patterns can be determined, Bernhardt said early information indicates the sharks travel out of the Bay on a seasonal basis.
Information about Sharktober events can be found at www.aquariumofthebay.org.