Nova Southeastern University researchers are testing how good sharks’ predictions really are.
Playing off the Shark Race to the White House in 2016 — one of the only polls to correctly predict the next President of the United States — researchers at NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute identified four sharks to help predict winners in a couple of Florida’s 2018 midterm elections.
The mako shark prognosticators for the governor’s mansion are are DeSantis Shark, for Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, and Gillum Shark, representing Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a democrat.
In the U.S. Senate race, Nelson Shark is swimming for democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, and Scott Shark is up for Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
As of this morning, DeSantis Shark and Nelson Shark were in the lead.
“Once again we turn to our sharks for their wisdom and expertise,” said Richard Dodge, Ph.D., according to a statement. “The sharks did a pretty good job two years ago, so let’s see how they do this year.”
Dodge, the dean of NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, stressed that the sharks are non-partisan.
Voters can follow the tagged sharks in near real-time at the Shark Race to the U.S. Senate and Florida Governor’s Mansion website, which allows visitors to “animate” the sharks to see where and how far they have traveled.
Each shark has a satellite tag affixed to its dorsal fin. Thee tags ping to a satellite each time the fins break the surface, which allows researchers to follow the sharks. The race is scheduled to run through Nov. 3, when researchers will determine which shark in each race logged the most miles.
Researchers in NSU’s GHRI have been tagging and studying sharks for years, with the goal of gathering as much data as possible to help protect the predators.
“This is a fun way to focus attention on the research NSU scientists are doing and the plight of sharks in our oceans,” Dodge said. “The work we’re doing at NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute and Save Our Seas Shark Research Center is critical if we are to help protect these animals.”
The school hopes the hashtag #makoprediction will catch on as people follow the sharks.