A ‘virtually’ free Parlour Ocean

If you’ve ever dreamed of enjoying a scene like this in your own living room:

Sand tiger shark with hundreds of its closest friends

Or like this:

Cruising sandbar shark
Cruising sandbar shark

Or maybe like this:

Sandbar shark swooping into a school of baitfish for a bite
Sandbar shark swooping into a school of baitfish for a bite

Then point your Chromecast, your Apple TV, or your Roku at this link: http://explore.org/live-cams/player/shark-cam.

Most of us these days have one of these devices to watch streaming media on our televisions, and now we can turn our TVs into a virtual window into the Atlantic ocean. “Shark Cam” is a live-streaming webcam that broadcasts from the bottom of the light tower at Frying Pan Shoals, which is the southernmost point of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Shoals have a unique mix of southern and northern Atlantic coastal species, since many of the species here are at their northern or southern extreme of their ranges, and many of them show up on camera! It’s not unusual to see tautog (range: South Carolina to Nova Scotia) on the same day as Spanish hogfish (range: the Carolinas to Brazil). You can also see a wide range of trophic level feeders, from algae and sponge eaters (blue angelfish), plankton eaters (various damsels, herring or sardines), mesopredators (small sea basses, jacks), and apex predators (sharks, rays, barracuda!).

If you’re still in the planning stages for your first (or next!) Parlour Ocean, head on over to the Outer Banks and get a sneak peek at the real deal. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration in designing your own system!