It’s that time of year again and as always, Shark Week delivers some of the most exciting content on television. This year, Discovery is upping its game with even more science, stars and sharks than ever before. The new lineup includes more than 20 hours of programming and explores the uncharted territory of how the current Covid-19 pandemic is impacting our seas.
An expert is somebody who has a broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge, skill and experience through practice and education in a particular field. Informally, an expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be believed, by virtue of credentials, training, education, profession, publication or experience, to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual’s opinion on that topic. Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage (Sophos). The individual was usually a profound thinker distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment.
In specific fields, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not always necessary for individuals to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert. In this respect, a shepherd with 50 years of experience tending flocks would be widely recognized as having complete expertise in the use and training of sheep dogs and the care of sheep. Another example from computer science is that an expert system may be taught by a human and thereafter considered an expert, often outperforming human beings at particular tasks. In law, an expert witness must be recognized by argument and authority.
Research in this area attempts to understand the relation between expert knowledge, skills and personal characteristics and exceptional performance. Some researchers have investigated the cognitive structures and processes of experts. The fundamental aim of this research is to describe what it is that experts know and how they use their knowledge to achieve performance that most people assume requires extreme or extraordinary ability. Studies have investigated the factors that enable experts to be fast and accurate.
Shark Week 2020: Expert Shares 5 Ways The Pandemic Is …
In financial markets, a share is a unit used as mutual funds, limited partnerships, and real estate investment trusts. The owner of shares in the company is a shareholder (or stockholder) of the corporation. A share is an indivisible unit of capital, expressing the ownership relationship between the company and the shareholder. The denominated value of a share is its face value, and the total of the face value of issued shares represent the capital of a company, which may not reflect the market value of those shares.
The income received from the ownership of shares is a dividend. The process of purchasing and selling shares often involves going through a stockbroker as a middle man.
There are different types of shares such as equity shares, preference shares, bonus shares, right shares, and employees stock option plan shares.
Shark Week has proven to be an extremely important franchise for Discovery from both a ratings standpoint, as well as a vehicle to attract new viewers to the cable network.
This year, the viewer will tag along with A-List stars including Mike Tyson, Will Smith and Shaquille O’Neil. And, this year’s pandemic offers researchers the once in a lifetime opportunity to study how the global lockdown and reduced amount of human interaction and activity in our oceans has impacted the hunting patterns of sharks.
Shark Week 2020: Expert Shares 5 Ways The Pandemic Is …
Last year’s programming shot Discovery up to the No. 1 slot, making it cable’s top network during Shark Week. Nearly 27 million viewers tuned in. According to analysis by Alphonso, average unique viewers (total day) last year were up 23% compared to the week before. In total, 28% of Shark Week viewers were new to Discovery last year.
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“The data shows how important the franchise is for short-term and long-term gains,” says Raghu Kodige, co-founder and Chief Product Officer for Alphonso. “The sizable audience attracts a variety of advertisers but the ability to pull in new viewers also allows Discovery to expose these individuals to promos for other shows, potentially expanding their base beyond Shark Week.”
Two specials in this year’s lineup are dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic: In Shark Lockdown researchers explore the waters off New Zealand where the largest female great whites are measuring over 20 feet long, earning the nickname “the 747s.” With no human interaction during COVID-19, researchers built a self-propelled cage to see how hunting patterns have changed. And, in Abandoned Waters researchers study how Covid-19 has affected the massive great whites at Australia’s Neptune Islands.
Marine Biologist and Ph.D. Alison Towner details how the worldwide shutdown has given sharks the opportunity to return to their natural behaviors and reclaim the oceans.
Towner, whose work includes research on white sharks with a focus on tracking and telemetry, as well as the driving factors of their movements, says scientists have recently been able to study sharks up close in ways that were nearly impossible prior. Here she lists five ways in which life for sharks has changed over the last several months.
- Largely decreased marine surveillance: Many government regulatory authorities were closed and many still are. These people police the catches of multiple shark species at sea, when brought into port and coastal zones. Without authorities to enforce law at sea, fishing of illegal species in no-take areas could well have taken place but to what extent we will likely never know. Photographs of huge Chinese industrial fishing fleets lined up right on the edge of the Galapagos EEZ (exclusive economic zone) made headlines recently. Their presence caused vast concern regarding a multitude of marine life, including threatened shark species, particularly hammerhead and whale sharks. The waters around the Galapagos marine reserve are a critical habitat.
- Shark eco-tourism businesses were devastated and still remain shut down: Oftentimes, shark eco-tourism vessels have a two-pronged purpose: To keep shark species worth more alive than dead and to monitor the shark species along with funding long-term research on them. Tourism is one of the hardest-hit sectors in the pandemic with most international borders closed or people fearful to fly. Therefore, shark species are not being monitored to the same level, but also the NGOs often working in conjunction with eco-tourism vessels struggle to keep research and conservation projects ongoing. This work is crucial to the survival of the shark stocks and our knowledge on their health and numbers.
- Research and science budgets cut by governments: As a spin-off from global economic recession, many governments have cut back budgets in other sectors to fund the humanitarian crisis of the pandemic. This means that ongoing research and crucial scientific projects cannot go ahead and conduct work. Many projects have had to close completely, including all knowledge vital to understanding shark behavior, distribution and numbers.
- Shark nets were removed: In South Africa, and other parts of the world, safety nets and drum lines were either removed or reduced significantly by staff cuts and lack of manpower to maintain them. This is a huge positive as it affords many large predatory sharks (and other marine species, such as dolphins and turtles) a temporal refuge from these devices. Shark nets and drum lines are designed to attract or entangle sharks and they kill thousands a year. With the shark nets out in South Africa, huge amounts of sharks were seen patrolling the inshore coastal zones hunting fish naturally as they would have 50 years ago.
- Outreach and awareness education skyrocketed: This is the real positive for sharks during the pandemic. All of a sudden, the world was thrust into the virtual era, connected by user-friendly interactive platforms such as Zoom. The ability to transfer information across the globe became fluent and within weeks commuting through traffic-congested roads to get to an office largely became a thing of the past. Due to the large amounts of time spent at home, people were hungry for entertainment. Lectures and webinars on shark species, shark science, conservation and research became much more popular and younger generations were able to engage and interact with scientists and conservationists studying sharks all around the world.
“Our oceans cover over 75% of the planet. Every second breath we take comes from the ocean thanks to marine plants and algae,” explains Towner. “Ecosystems are all about balance. If the top domino is tipped over, a systematic knock-on ripples through each trophic layer until most of the pieces are affected in some way or another.”
Sharks, she adds, are one of the ocean’s top dominos. “There are over 560 species of sharks on our planet. The earliest shark remains date back some 450 million years. Sharks Skates and Rays have survived multiple mass extinction events and adapted to thrive in extreme ocean habitats from the shallow coastal seas to the deepest darkest depths.”
Their ability to survive is where the hope lies for Towner. “Our planet is hurting from over-excessive wildlife extraction and consumption. The virus came from an animal in a wet market in Wuhan, China. If that doesn’t support the notion that change needs to happen regarding our impacts on wildlife as humans nothing will. The next generation, those who do not want to see another pandemic rear its head, and those who want to see shark numbers bounding back from the loss of 100 million a year, now have the power at their fingertips to learn, educate and spread the plight of the shark with how to help.”
Education is imperative to the plight of sharks. Tragically, these predators are threatened by a global shark fin trade. Efforts to fight this brutal, cruel and wasteful practice continue and through Shark Week the aim is to educate fans about why healthy oceans need sharks.
“In the last 50 years, humans have advanced their capabilities to extract from the oceans to industrial scale levels,” Towner explains. “Factory fleets roam the high seas so advanced that they don’t need to dock to offload their catch. These huge fleets can process all the meat fins and other body parts of sharks out of sight. They have naval technology, spotter planes and trackers to locate areas where remaining pockets of fish seek refuge. Nothing can hide and the chase to feed the growing populations of humans never ends. The cure for our suffering shark stocks will be the next generation of ocean ambassadors and their children’s actions.”