HONOLULU Instruments strapped onto and ingested by sharks are revealing novel insights into how one of the most feared and least understood ocean predators swims, eats and lives.
For the first time, researchers at the University of Hawaii and the University of Tokyo outfitted sharks with sophisticated sensors and video recorders to measure and see where they are going, how they are getting there, and what they are doing once they reach their destinations. (Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHDOAmXRw-0&feature=youtu.be for video).
Scientists are also piloting a project using instruments ingested by sharks and other top ocean predators, like tuna, to gain new awareness into these animals' feeding habits. The instruments, which use electrical measurements to track ingestion and digestion of prey, can help researchers understand where, when and how much sharks and other predators are eating, and what they are feasting on.
The instruments are providing scientists with a "shark's eye" view of the ocean and greater understanding than ever before of the lives of these fish in their natural environment.
"What we are doing is really trying to fill out the detail of what their role is in the ocean," said Carl Meyer, an assistant researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. "It is all about getting a much deeper understanding of sharks' ecological role in the ocean, which is important to the health of the ocean and, by extension, to our own well-being."
Using the sensors and video recorders, the researchers captured unprecedented images of sharks of different species swimming in schools, interacting with other fish and moving in repetitive loops across the sea bed. They also found that sharks used powered swimming more often than a gliding motion to move through the ocean, contrary to
|Contact: Mary Catherine Adams|
American Geophysical Union