OCEARCH, a global non-profit organization, conducts research on the ocean’s largest inhabitants in order to assist scientists in collecting previously unattainable data and, ultimately, to restore balance and abundance to our oceans. They use harmless tagging and sample collection methods to gather this information. Inadvertently, data appears to be capable of producing some remarkable art.
The goal of OCEARCH’s Nova Scotia Expedition 2020 was to tag more great white sharks “in order to develop the most advanced understanding yet of white shark biology, physiology, health, behavior, and more.” One of the first sharks tagged in this expedition was Breton, a mature male great white. He weighed 1,437 pounds and was 13 feet long when he was discovered and named after Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton.
After Breton was tagged, he was safely released back into the ocean. By the end of the year, he had made it all the way to Florida. Researchers used this geographical information to further their work, but they weren’t the only ones watching the great white’s journey. Twitter user Chloe Marie had noticed in May 2022 that Breton’s path looked peculiar. She posted a screenshot of Breton’s Travel Log and asked OCEARCH, “Can we talk about how Breton looks like he’s doodling a shark?”
Breton was quickly nicknamed “sharkasso” (like Picasso) by Marie, and it’s no wonder why. The connect-the-dots style path is uncannily similar to a shark, complete with a shark fin and curved tail. In September 2022, the work of accidental art gained traction on Twitter when director Jeff Barnaby shared the image. If it’s hard to spot, don’t worry—someone replied with an image to clarify.
OCEARCH, a non-profit that conducts research on the ocean’s biggest habitants, uses safe and harmless tagging methods to provide scientists with necessary information.
In 2020, the organization worked with great white sharks in Nova Scotia. Breton was their first tagged shark during the expedition.