scientist shark

Concept: one of those “hyper-intelligent shark terrorises scientists at offshore research facility” movies (can you believe that’s an actual genre?), except partway through the movie it turns out that the facility’s director is secretly the leader of an apocalypse cult and is trying to summon Cthulhu, and the shark is trying to stop him. In the end, the interns team up with the shark to bring down the cult and its master.

smithsonianmag.com
Canadian Scientists Explain Exactly How Their Government Silenced Science
It wasn’t just climate research. Rock snot, sharks and polar bears: All were off-limits during the Harper administration
By Joshua Rapp Learn

“A survivor’s guide to being a muzzled scientist.”  

Get a personal e-mail address, start your own blog and make sure there are multiple copies of your datasets. “Get anonymous, get online. Let people know what’s going on,“ Rennie says. “Folks that are in academia, that have tenure, that have a bit more job security and have more of an ability to speak their mind can help those in the public service that are challenged with these situations.”

“Disservice is too mild a word” to describe the effect of this muzzling, says Steven Campana, a shark scientist who spent 32 years working for Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans:

 “It’s a cheat for the taxpaying public because it’s the taxpaying public that is funding this government research. When that research leads to very positive things, or even if it’s negative, the people that paid for it deserve to hear about it.”

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

After four years alone, female shark has babies without a male mate

  • Leonie, a female zebra shark in Australia, had three offspring in early 2016 after being completely isolated from males for roughly four years.
  • According to New Scientist, Leonie was first paired with a male at an Australian aquarium in 1999; the couple had over two dozen babies.
  • In 2012, aquarium staff moved Leonie’s partner to another tank, leaving her alone— which is why scientists were stunned when she gave birth.
  • How did it happen? It could be because of a kind of biological contingency plan for if there are no male sharks around.
  • According to New Scientist, sharks are capable of asexual reproduction if there’s a genetically identical cell called a sister polar body nearby to fertilize it.  Read more

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As a scientist who studies blacktip sharks, I feel like it is my duty to inform others about this common case of misidentification.

The first picture is of one of my sharks, and the second picture is another species within its genus for which my shark is mistaken. Many people do not know that the blacktip (Carcharhinus limbatus) and blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) are two completely different species. First, the blacktip reef is found in the Indian and Pacific oceans, and they have limited ranges as they stay extremely close to their sites for many years. Conversely, the blacktip is worldwide along coastlines and migrates seasonally. As for visual differences, the black fin markings on the blacktip reef are much more prominant. The blacktips nearly always lack black tips on their anal fins, and their black markings fade significantly with age. Another notable distinction is coloring, as blacktips tend to have a gray/bronze coloring while blacktips are a paler, cream based color. A behavioral difference is that blacktips have been known to jump out of the water like a spinner shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna) in the presence of prey or when caught on a line (I have witnessed this first-hand when I caught my first juvenile). Genetically, the blacktip is actually thought to be most closely related to the blacknose (Carcharhinus acronotus) based on DNA studies. However, resolution of phylogenies for both species is far from happening.

There are two lesser known species (Australian blacktip and smoothtooth blacktip) that are not as easily distinguished. The Australian blacktip (Carcharhinus tilstoni) looks exactly like the blacktip and was only found to be a separate species due to genetic analysis and vertebral differences; it is found along the northern half of Australia’s coastline. The smoothtooth blacktip (Carcharhinus leiodon) looks like the blacktip reef shark and is exclusively found along the Arabian Peninsula coastline.

ask-leumas  asked:

Huh, that fact about the Goliath dire Blaziken where natural resources couldn't sustain them optimally reminded me a theory about the Megaladon shark. Some scientists theorize great white sharks could grow into the size of their ancient ancestors, but can't due to lack of food, among other environmental factors.

Pre’y much, yeah. Meanwhile their domestic counterparts were bred over a century to produce a smaller, more manageable, and less murder-y version. 

The Signs As Sharks

Aries- Bull Shark 

-highly aggressive,

-most dangerous shark in the world

Taurus- Tiger Shark 

-large sharks, extremely dangerous to people when provoked

-eats anything 

Gemini- Mako Shark

-extremely aggressive

-fastest species of shark 

Cancer- Nurse Shark

-normally docile and calm

-becomes extremely aggressive when assumed to be harmless

Leo- Great White Shark 

-Most well known shark, what most people immediately think of when they think “shark”

-big and imposing 

-thought to be extremely dangerous but is actually rarely aggressive past curiosity 

Virgo- Thresher Shark

-Uses precision of tail to stun or kill prey

-beautiful rainbow shaped tail

Libra- Leopard Shark

-extremely social, lives in schools

-easily identified by beautiful markings

Scorpio- Goblin Shark

-fearsome looking 

-extremely precise and skillful 

Sagittarius- Hammerhead Shark

-one of the most effective hunters

-senses movement of stingrays

-embarks on huge summertime migrations 

Capricorn- Frilled Shark

-traditional fossil shark (very little change over the years of evolution)

-rarely seen and does poorly in captivity 

Aquarius- Megalodon 

-extinct, but when they existed they were the largest marine animal to ever live

-fantastic and massive hunters

-still perplexes scientists 

Pisces- Whale Shark 

-large but gentle and slow moving

-playful and non-aggressive with divers

-gives rides

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Scientists at the Pacific Shark Research Center have discovered a new species of Lanternshark. The sharks give off a dim glow thanks to tiny organs in their skin called photophores. When seen from below, they blend in with the dim light that filters down to their dark hunting grounds from the ocean’s surface. In this context, glowing is actually an effective form of camouflage. Lanternsharks are incredibly sneaky predators. 

Researcher (and shark-discoverer) Vicky Vásquez was describing the sharks’ special power to her young cousins when they suggested the common name Ninja. Its scientific name Etmopterus benchleyi honors Peter Benchley, the author of the novel Jaws who became a vocal advocate for shark conservation. 

Image credits: Dr. Douglas J. Long/Dr. Ross Robertson/Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation

At some point in Ichthyology
  • Fish Scientist 1: what are we gonna call this species of shark with spots?
  • Fish Scientist 2: leopard shark?
  • Fish Scientist 1: no that's already taken.
  • Fish Scientist 2: how about zebra shark?
  • Fish Scientist 1: do zebras have spots?
  • Fish Scientist 2: idk who cares? No one will notice.

An unofficial world record catch for a bull shark. Marine scientist Neil Hammerschlag caught the estimated 10 ft long 1000 pound beast just fishing off the reefs of the Florida Keys. The shark was tagged and released as part of his teams research.  Measurements were not taken as this was not fishing for a “trophy” fish, although this sure as hell would be one. Better they let it go.

Eugenie Clark, whose work in the field of marine biology was absolutely groundbreaking, passed away this morning at the age of 92.

Not only did she make countless discoveries about many species of fish. Not only was she one of the first scientists to believe that sharks were more than mindless killers, and publish numerous studies demonstrating the complexity and intelligence of the incredible creatures. Not only was she a huge advocate for them, constantly working to teach the public about how amazing sharks, and all ocean creatures are, and how important it is that we actively work to protect them.

She was a woman marine biologist at a time when the field was almost completely dominated by men, but she never let anyone stop her from achieving her dreams. (When she applied to a Ph. D. program at Columbia, she was told by a scientist there, "If you do finish, you will probably get married, have a bunch of kids, and never do anything in science after we have invested our time and money in you.“ She then went on to get her Ph. D. elsewhere, and do many, many things in science.)

She founded a laboratory, first called the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, which then went on to become the Mote Marine Lab, one of the most important centers for shark research in the countries.

She literally changed the game in marine biology. But she was also just an incredibly kind, curious, and bold individual, who always sought to inspire young scientists and ocean activists.

Eugenie Clark was my hero as a child, and honestly, one of the reasons I’m pursuing a career in science. I had the absolute honor of meeting her (twice!!) and she was so, so, so incredibly kind to me, giving me words of encouragement, talking to me about my interests, and just truly, being one of the most humble, intelligent people I’ve ever met.

She changed my life, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to both know about her, read about her life and her work, and to talk to her.

Meet the Extremely Rare Pocket Shark

Museum scientists are getting an up-close look at an extremely rare—and extremely small—shark by taking high-resolution, three-dimensional x-ray scans.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers were trawling in the Gulf of Mexico for a sperm whale feeding study in 2010 when they inadvertently pulled up a tiny, odd-looking shark with a bulbous head and rows of sharp teeth. NOAA researchers subsequently identified the creature as the rare pocket shark (Mollisquama sp.). The specimen is only the second ever collected, 36 years after the first one was found off the coast of Chile.

Named for two small openings above its pectoral fins, the pocket shark is still mostly a mystery, as is the purpose its pockets serve. But instead of dissecting this rare 5.5-inch-long specimen, scientists have turned to non-destructive x-ray techniques: computed tomography (CT) scanning in the Museum’s Microscopy and Imaging Facility and at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France.

“The level of detail we can achieve through x-ray imaging is just incredible,” says John Maisey, a curator in the Museum’s Division of Paleontology who has been working with NOAA researchers and Museum Axelrod Postdoctoral Fellow John Denton to scan the specimen. “It allows you to look at these priceless specimens in a way you couldn’t have 10 or 15 years earlier.”

The CT scans proved especially valuable for counting the vertebrae of the pocket shark, the smallest of which were too small to be picked up using standard x-ray imaging, and for counting the teeth. Many of the specimen’s teeth were missing, but by rotating the image of the jaw and examining its inner surface, researchers were able to count the tiny new teeth coming up to take their place.

The species appears to be closely related to cookie cutter sharks, which feed by taking bites out of the skin of larger animals. And the anatomy of the pocket shark’s jaws and teeth indicate that it inhabits a similar ecological niche. 

As for the shark’s mysterious pockets, one working hypothesis is that that they might emit a bioluminescent fluid to either attract mates or to confuse predators. Maisey and Denton are now poring over the extremely high-resolution scans taken at ESRF with Mark Grace, the biologist with NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center who discovered the specimen, to learn more about their anatomy.  

But anything gleaned from the scans will likely remain hypothetical until scientists can observe a pocket shark in action.

“I would love to see a pocket shark alive in its environment,” Grace says. “But the CT scans are the next best thing.”

This story was originally published on the Museum blog. 

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Are you stupid enough to take Shark Cartilage pills?

Roaming around Ayala Mall in Cebu City I stumbled upon these - shark cartilage capsules. Obviously I was hugely disappointed to find shark products being sold in a health store here in the Philippines, but what I discovered next was worse! The product and marketing of the capsules is based on complete nonsense (to put it politely), and so I have to ask the question who is stupid enough to take shark cartilage capsules? 

Let’s look at this statement quoted on the back of “Solgar” Shark Cartilage Capsules and you’ll see what I am talking about:

“The use of shark cartilage pills as a dietary supplement is the result of scientists indicating that sharks have existed for hundreds of millions of years, yet are one of the few animals that have remained relatively unchanged by evolution.”

Really?!!? Is “Solgar” trying to use evolution as a scientific endorsement?  And what exactly is the customer gaining by taking capsules of one of the worlds most overexploited species?  I’m sorry, but if you are silly enough to believe this ridiculous statement then the joke is on you - you are wasting your money and simultaneously killing sharks, probably endangered species.  It’s time you made a change, but first let me tell you why this product is so ridiculous, 

Let’s look at that statement again:  “The use of shark cartilage pills as a dietary supplement is the result of scientists indicating that sharks have existed for hundreds of millions of years” 

a) OK so ye, sharks are pretty old, in fact Sharks have swum in the oceans for almost 450 million years, but why does that mean it is good to eat their cartilage? It doesn’t - there’s no basis to this and ironically the fact that sharks have survived 450 million years should be good enough reason why we SHOULD NOT BE EATING THEIR CARTILAGE - the demand for products like this, as well as shark fins and shark oil is one of the GREATEST THREATS to shark species around the world.  By not buying or supporting these products, you can be part of the movement to save the worlds greatest ocean animals and not be one of the people responsible for their extinction.  

b) “yet are one of the few animals that have remained relatively unchanged by evolution” The fact that sharks have remained relatively unchanged by evolution, is helping us how? By taking shark cartilage am I going to be relatively unchanged by evolution?  I think not.  Evolution takes hundreds, if not millions of years and consists of changes in the traits inherited by a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another. It is populations of organisms that evolve, not individual organisms.  By taking shark cartilage you are not gaining anything, especially in evolutionary terms! According to our main man Charles Darwin, evolution by natural selection is all about survival of the fittest - individuals with traits that enable them to better adapt to their environment compared with other members of the same species will more likely survive and go on to reproduce.  So if sharks have been “relatively unchanged by evolution” then maybe they nailed it way back when - the ancestors of todays sharks must have adapted well to their environment compared with other members of their species, reproduced, had baby sharks, like their parents these babies were well adapted, survived, reproduced, etc etc…  I can see no way how this statement on the product and the capsule itself is going to benefit the user  I don’t even understand what the product is selling?!  Everything is unrelated and complete nonsense. 

c) The suggested dose is 8 capsules a day!! 8 capsules a day!?! The only reason I can think of for this that you have to take so many capsules because they do in fact do nothing. Taking more, simply means you need to buy a new bottle quicker, killing more sharks for no reason.  It’s just crazy.

So there you go.  Now when asked the question are you silly enough to be taking shark cartilage capsules?

The answer is NO.  

Shark Week to include actual science and shark facts this year.

Scientists agree that Shark Week hit rock bottom a couple of years ago with a Megalodon special that appeared to be a documentary—unless that is, you read the three-second disclaimer that it was fake at the outset of the show. Most people didn’t. Shark ecologist David Shiffman told NPR that “Shark Week two years ago did not appreciate it when I recommended an eight-year-old neighbor fact-check scripts for them. Because that eight-year-old knew more about sharks than whoever was writing those scripts…” 

The cacophony of outraged researchers calling on the network to instill a touch of accuracy back into its programming made its mark: Discovery Channel’s new president announced last week that this year, shows will focus on shark research. It’s definitely progress, but stay tuned to Shiffman, @whysharksmatter, on Twitter to make sure you’re not being duped by fear mongering faintly disguised as fact. 

Originally posted by rminerva

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PREHISTORIC SHARK NURSERY COULD EXPLAIND ANCIENT SHARK MIGRATION

Scientists have found a prehistoric shark nursery with fossils of young sharks and eggs at the site of a nuclear power plant in northeastern Illinois, which they believe to be the earliest known shark nurseries ever discovered.

According to the scientists, the nursery dates to 310 million year ago, and it was full of long-snouted Bandringa sharks that migrated downstream from freshwater swamps to a tropical coastline to spawn. 

  •  An artist’s rendering of a Bandringa, a 310 million-year-old shark originally found in fossil deposits from Mazon Creek, Illinois by John Megahan, and photo of a fossil impression left by a juvenile Bandringa shark.  Lauren Sallan and Michael Coates 
  • More: IBTIMES