Shark Week kicked off today, and that means we all have a plenty of killer aquatic dinosaur entertainment to look forward to. Some of that will even be educational. Last year, YouTuber Mark Rober teamed up with the Discovery Channel to use technology in order to test whether or not sharks can actually smell a drop of blood from extreme distances. This year, Rober once again joined the Discovery Channel for another experiment. In his newest video, he covers that experiment and how he tested what kind of blood sharks are the most attracted to.
Like last year’s experiment, which we covered in an article then, this test was done in the Bahamas. But, before Rober could start the science, he had to actually get there. The Bahamian government was restricting travel thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and it turned out that Rober had contracted COVID-19. Fortunately, he was able to recover without any serious complications and then charter a flight to the Bahamas. Once there, he met up with marine biologist Luke Tipple to squeeze some fish. They wanted to test whether sharks prefer fish blood or mammal blood, and had to blend up several gallons of chum smoothie for the experiment.
They then took a boat out to open water to deploy three surfboard-based blood distribution systems. Each of those surfboards is equipped with a pump system controlled by an Adafruit Feather M0 RadioFruit board via an Adafruit Motor FeatherWing. One surfboard carries the fish blood, one carries cow blood, and one carries sea water to act as a control. The surfboards were positioned far away from each other and far away from the boat. There was a slight hiccup due to damage from shipping, but Rober's built-in redundancy saved the day. Once the blood started pumping, the truth quickly became apparent: sharks seem to like fish blood the most — though they like cow blood a little bit, too. Rober then ended the day with a quick swim in a strange shark cage, just for giggles.