Dr. Austin Gallagher On Shark Week’s Belly of the Beast & Monster Mako

Dr. Austin Gallagher On Shark Week’s Belly of the Beast & Monster Mako


  • Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood and Stomach of the Beast showcase the power and drive of mako and white sharks, revealing their fascinating dynamics and behaviors.
  • The person-made whale carcass utilized in Stomach of the Beast was designed to check nice white feeding exercise, and scientist Dr. Austin Gallagher had a first-hand expertise with the sharks throughout the experiments.
  • Gallagher’s thought for the pretend whale carcass had been kicking round for a few years earlier than it was realized, and it was profitable in attracting and finding out nice white sharks, with the potential for additional modifications sooner or later.

Shark Week returns for an additional chew on Discovery with quite a few new applications together with Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood and Stomach of the Beast. Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood explores the fascinating dynamic between large mako sharks and nice whites off the coast of California, and Stomach of the Beast exhibits the usage of a first-of-its-kind man-made whale carcass designed for finding out nice white feeding exercise. Each exhibits showcase the power and drive of mako and white sharks alike, and put scientists up shut and private with the animals.

Each Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood and Stomach of the Beast closely characteristic marine scientist Dr. Austin Gallagher. Gallagher is the CEO and founding father of the non-profit group Beneath the Waves and has participated in quite a few shark week applications like Tiger Queen, Brad Paisley’s Shark Nation, and The Each day Chunk. In Stomach of the Beast, Gallagher himself was within the man-made carcass and had a front-row seat to quite a few nice white feeding frenzies.

Associated: 10 Discovery+ Documentaries To Watch If You Love Shark Week

Dr. Austin Gallagher spoke with Display Rant about Stomach of the Beast and Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood, working with sharks, and extra.

Dr. Austin Gallagher on Stomach of the Beast & Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood

Display Rant: [In Belly of the Beast] you make EARL, the pretend whale carcass from which you observe the sharks, which is a tremendous thought. Are you able to speak about the place that got here from, and in addition how lengthy this concept was kicking round earlier than it was realized?

Dr. Austin Gallagher: I had the concept for most likely two or three years, [and] truly pitched it to Shark Week and labored with a manufacturing firm, HAZMAT, who I labored with lots on this one. However the thought got here from science that I’ve truly been concerned in for over 10 years. What we have performed is, we have truly studied what these whale carcasses imply for nice white shark science and nice white shark ecology. What we have discovered is that they are actually vital. They convey out the most important white sharks, they create out essentially the most white sharks, [and] they’re extremely vital from an lively standpoint to those animals.

We needed to attempt to simulate that as a result of A., we’d get some unbelievable footage, and B., [we wondered if this could be] used to carry a few of the giant nice whites off of South Africa near us. These are the white sharks which have sort of disappeared as a result of the orcas off of South Africa have scared and hunted a number of these nice whites away. That is what we needed to do, and it took a pair [of] years to place the concepts collectively [and] engineer it, however we did it.

Is it one thing that you’d make the most of once more, and are there design adjustments you have been pondering of as you have been in there?

Dr. Austin Gallagher: I might positively do it once more, and we’d truly do it once more as a result of it labored rather well. Truthfully, I do not know if I might change a lot. I’d make a number of modifications to the facet flanks and have some extra areas for the white sharks chew onto. [If] a shark leaves a tooth again, we will age the shark primarily based on its tooth, [and we can measure] chew power. The entire system, EARL, was rigged with GoPro cameras, so we acquired a number of actually nice footage. We’re truly going to investigate a few of that towards actual whale carcasses from a scientific standpoint, which might be cool. However no, it labored rather well. And it was truly very secure, too, which was good for me.

Talking of that, there have been a number of moments watching Stomach of the Beast the place it appeared like issues have been very near going sideways. From an outsider’s perspective, [at least], it appeared like there have been a number of sketchy moments. As somebody who has spent a lot time with these animals, how nervous do you truly get at this level?

Dr. Austin Gallagher: It relies upon. If it is nice whites, [I’m] positively very nervous. Inside a cage with nice whites, [it’s] not that scary–just actually enjoyable. Off Guadalupe Island–I did a present final 12 months there–[it was] crystal clear blue water and big white sharks on a regular basis.

However whenever you’re of their setting, a spot like South Africa the place the water is murky, you do not know what you are seeing, and also you’re utilizing one thing that may be very thrilling to nice whites, you simply do not know. When that huge one confirmed up, all bets have been off. That was a extremely highly effective shark, [with] 1000’s of kilos of weight, nearly 20 toes lengthy, [and with] tons of giant enamel. That shark might do some critical harm, so I used to be very nervous when that huge shark got here up. However I had a great group supporting me and, fortunately, we have been secure.

How do you go about placing collectively a group? You are working with completely different folks on Monster Mako and Stomach of the Beast. Are these folks that you simply had relationships with earlier than, or that you simply sought out?

Dr. Austin Gallagher: Each. I like constructing groups; it is one in all my favourite issues. I truly based and run an ocean conservation NGO known as Beneath the Waves, and I have been actually lucky to carry over a number of of us from my group to the Shark Week exhibits up to now and this 12 months. Liv Dixon–she’s a analysis scientist at Beneath the Waves, so she’s one in all my colleagues–was on [Monster Mako, and] I’ve labored with Andre Musgrove earlier than on science within the Bahamas. There are a number of repeat offenders, so to talk, however it’s all about bringing collectively the fitting abilities: people who find themselves water folks skilled in underwater operations, individuals who have very in a position scientific palms whether or not we’re tagging sharks or engineering [or] recovering units, [or] people who find themselves good underwater; generally you simply want a extremely good security diver. I like bringing these groups collectively, even [with] bringing medics. I’ve shut relationships with all people on these exhibits as a result of I’ve labored with them 12 months over 12 months, and it is like this brotherhood or sisterhood of people who find themselves actually passionate and in addition simply actually good at what they do.

In Monster Mako, there is a second the place Andrea and Rosie within the shark dome have to come back up as a result of it has been a very long time and so they have not seen something. For the whole lot that makes it to the present, how a lot time do you spend ready and never getting what you are after?

Dr. Austin Gallagher: Rather a lot. A whole lot of shark analysis normally is simply sitting and ready. Typically you get fortunate and so they’re proper there whenever you present up, however oftentimes, even with that, it takes somewhat little bit of time to get them excited and used to us. It may be fairly the ready sport. It takes time, and that is one factor that individuals do not get. We cram 5, six, seven days of taking pictures right into a 44-minute present for Shark Week, however that is simply the spotlight reel. It is a number of sitting and ready.

How do you stability making one thing that’s actually entertaining for somebody who would not know something, and [that] additionally has sufficient scientific worth to be fascinating to you and your group?

Dr. Austin Gallagher: It is precisely that; it is only a balancing act. that the community needs a great stability. For me, we do not have to fabricate any of that, as a result of the sharks are naturally thrilling. They’re naturally somewhat bit fearsome, they’re harmful, and what we’re doing is harmful. It simply is, in order that stuff goes to search out its manner into the present; it is simply pure. Clearly, there’s music added in a few of the cuts, however that is simply how it’s; it’s important to make it thrilling for most of the people. Then, for me, I all the time need to attempt to incorporate as a lot science as doable, and in a concise trend. It truly helps scientists who’re on these exhibits in getting their messages out, and it helps them talk to broad audiences. Discovering that stability is tremendous enjoyable.

About Stomach of the Beast and Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood

monster mako 2023 shark week

Stomach of the Beast: In a Shark Week first, researchers with cameras courageous an awesome white shark feeding frenzy from inside a life-size whale decoy. Their findings might be the important thing to discovering the most important nice white shark in South African historical past.

Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood: Twelve-foot-long monster mako sharks compete head-to-head with nice whites for prey off the coast of California. Utilizing a customized clear, acrylic diving bell, Dr. Austin Gallagher and legendary free diver Andre Musgrove stand up shut with each predators and observe makos breaching eight toes out of the ocean.

Try our different Shark Week interviews right here:

Stomach of the Beast premiered on July 23 and Monster Mako: Contemporary Blood premieres July 27 at 9 pm for Discovery’s Shark Week.

Supply: Display Rant Plus


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