Shark-bait tourism

Three hours off the coast of South Australia, in the remote and rugged Neptune Islands, white sharks gather. These apex predators are drawn to these offshore islands near Port Lincoln by fur seals, thousands of which form breeding colonies in the islands’ rocky coves. And, in turn, humans are drawn to the Neptunes to dive … Continue reading Shark-bait tourism

Flirting with the enemy: fish using sharks to exfoliate

The fish in this video aren’t snuggling with sharks – they are exfoliating. A team of researchers from the University of Miami, US, documented 47 instances of fish getting up close and personal with the enemy by rubbing against sharks – some even dared to rub against great whites. “While we don’t exactly know why … Continue reading Flirting with the enemy: fish using sharks to exfoliate

You may have missed…

New shark mass extinction discovered Scientists have uncovered a previously unknown mass die-off of sharks, 19 million years ago. At this time, the oceans swarmed with ten times as many sharks as we have today, but the extinction event killed off more than 70% of them, with a higher death toll in the open ocean … Continue reading You may have missed…

You may have missed…

Immaculate conception…in sharks? After a mass artificial insemination project in sharks, researchers found that some white-spotted bamboo sharks had “virgin births”, where their babies had no fathers at all. The team artificially inseminated 20 female sharks to help boost population numbers, as they detail in their paper, published in Scientific Reports.  Despite some sperm coming … Continue reading You may have missed…

Pigeons of the sea? Sharks use magnetic compass for navigation

Might be time to re-think your strategy for avoiding sharks: turns out the marine predators use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate, according to new research from the US. The study has produced the first firm evidence that bonnethead sharks – a small type of hammerhead found in American waters – like birds and turtles, … Continue reading Pigeons of the sea? Sharks use magnetic compass for navigation

Glow-in-the-dark sharks

What’s cooler than a shark? A glowing shark! Kiwi and Belgian researchers studying sharks off the coast of New Zealand (Aotearoa) have documented three deepwater sharks that are luminous. The three species, the kitefin shark (Dalatias lichaI), the lucifer shark (Etmopterus lucifer) and the southern lantern shark (Etmopterus granulosus), all had similar photophores – a … Continue reading Glow-in-the-dark sharks

You may have missed…

A round up of the stories that may have snuck past you in this week’s edition of science digest… Sharks aren’t so scary Sharks have a very frightening role in our cultural history, but Australians don’t find them as frightening as jellyfish or drowning, according to new research from the University of South Australia. The … Continue reading You may have missed…

Keeping bites at bay

It’s summer, the heat’s glimmering off the tarmac, and Australians are flocking to the beach. It’s when we start thinking about big marine predators – and how to prevent a shark attack. Although shark-human interactions are rare and unlikely events, sharks are often at the back of every surfer’s or swimmer’s mind – and to … Continue reading Keeping bites at bay

Turbulent times

Sharks are awesome and highly evolved animals, but according to fluid mechanist Sophie Calabretto, perhaps their most amazing characteristic is only skin deep. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved sharks. By that I mean I’ve loved the idea of sharks, of course, having fallen victim to an older brother who (I can … Continue reading Turbulent times

What causes equatorial marine biodiversity?

The puzzle of what factors create rich biodiversity towards the equator has captivated ecologists as far back as Darwin and Wallace, with theories that species interactions are responsible – a key one being predator activity. A new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, challenges this controversial notion by showing that large ocean predators, such as sharks, tuna, sailfish and … Continue reading What causes equatorial marine biodiversity?