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  • In Gansbaai, the largest white shark ever caught was at Danger Point and measured up to 5.9m. The exact world record white shark is a contested issue, but chances are it is between 6-7m.

  • If you see a white shark in the water don’t panic. Chances are high that the shark has already detected you and isn’t interested. White shark attacks are normally associated with poor visibility, so avoid murky conditions.

  • White sharks have a unique system called a “counter current heat exchange”, which keeps their body  tempreture +/- 7C above the surrounding water temperature. 

  • All sharks have an incredibly unique system on the tip of their nose called the “ampillae of Lorenzini”. These are small pores filled with a gel that transmits the electrical currents in the water to the shark’s brain so that it can assess its environment.

  • White sharks give birth to live young (not eggs), and they give birth to 6-8 pups at one time. Pups are usually between 1.0-1.5m in length and are born with teeth.

  • Body language has been a well documented form of shark communication and has identified body arching, jaw gaping, and other postures as specific social tactics.

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Our Marine Biologists

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Alison Towner

Marine biologist DICT, PhD Candidate.

Inspired from a young age by her late father’s ambition to dive with White Sharks, Alison graduated from  UK’S Bangor university in 2006 with a BSc Honours in Marine biology.

After working in the Red sea as a PADI instructor, she joined the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, South Africa, in January 2007 and has remained on site ever since! Alison spent the first 5 years as a guide for Marine Dynamics Shark Tours interacting daily with divers. This opportunity enabled her to collect extensive observational data on white sharks from which she completed her MSc through the University of Cape Town. With fellow colleagues at the DICT, Alison has co authored publications on white shark regional population dynamics, wound healing, movements and tagging. As a qualified SAMSA skipper, Alison continues with her studies on white sharks in Gansbaai with a focus on tracking and telemetry and a continued interest in environmental influences, particularly climate change.

She is currently in progress with her PhD which examines the relationship between cage diving and behaviours of white sharks in control and cage dive designated zones.