Fewer Great White Sharks Off California Coast: Study

Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011  |  Updated 3:42 PM PDT
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A new study finds that there are far fewer great white sharks living off California's coast than scientists had expected.

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that biologists believe only 219 full-grown or near-grown adults populate the coastal waters between Bodega Bay and Monterey each fall.

University of California, Davis researcher Taylor Chapple says he's surprised by the low number of great whites counted in the first-ever census of the marine predators.

The results are being published this week in the journal Biology Letters.

The researchers used high-resolution photos of the sharks taken over three years to determine their number.

Great whites typically spend time in Northern California waters from August to December to feed on sea lions, seals and other prey animals before traveling south from January to July.

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