Navigation Links
Great white sharks
Date:4/10/2013

MIAMI April 9, 2013 Many terrestrial animals are frequently observed scavenging on other animals whether it is a hyena stealing a lion kill in the Serengeti or a buzzard swooping down on a dead animal. However, documenting this sort of activity in the oceans is especially difficult, and often overlooked in marine food web studies.

In a new study published in PLOS ONE titled, "White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) scavenging on whales and its potential role in further shaping the ecology of an apex predator," Captain Chris Fallows from Apex Expeditions collaborated with University of Miami (UM) scientists Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and Austin Gallagher, to explore the behaviors of Great white sharks scavenging on dead whales in South Africa. The team documented as many as 40 different sharks scavenging on a carcass over the course of a single day, revealing unique social interactions among sharks.

The study summarized observations based on four scavenging events opportunistically observed over a 10 year period. In each multi-day observation, the team recorded daily evidence of social, aggregative and feeding behaviors observed in the waters off South Africa. They suggest that although the occurrence of coming upon a whale carcass may be sporadic, the shark populations are likely prepared to scavenge on them, and may even rely on their scavenging activities to supplement their regular feeding activities.

"Although rarely seen, we suspect that as white sharks mature, scavenging on whales becomes more prevalent and significant to these species than previously thought," said Hammerschlag, who is director of the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at UM.

The team found that sharks showed a clear preference for scavenging on the blubber, probably because these high calorie meals can sustain the sharks for longer periods of time. Interestingly, though, the study also found that sharks showed an initial preference for feeding on the whale's fluke before moving on to feed on the rest of the carcass. The team also found that while scavenging on whales, they ceased hunting and feeding on seals, one of their primary natural prey.

"While scavenging on the whale, the sharks clearly showed a size-based pecking order," said Fallows. "The biggest sharks came right in, targeting areas of highest blubber content, while smaller sharks fed on areas with less blubber or kept their distance from the whale, mostly scavenging on pieces of blubber that drifted away from the carcass."

The paper reveals how the social and size structure of sharks at the carcass appeared to be influenced by environmental patterns. "The cues, such as the oils, emanating from this pulse of food are likely attracting much larger sharks over 4.5 meters from long distances to scavenge," said Gallagher. "These data provide some credence to the hypothesis that large white sharks may be swimming known ocean corridors looking for dead, dying, or vulnerable whales."

"By attracting many large white sharks together to scavenge, we suspect that the appearance of a whale carcass can play a role in shaping the behaviors, movements, and the ecosystem impacts of white sharks" said Hammerschlag. "These patterns may shed some light into the ecology of this often studied - yet still highly enigmatic - marine predator."


'/>"/>

Contact: Alexandra Bassil
a.bassil@miami.edu
305-284-1092
University of Miami
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Asian carp DNA not widespread in the Great Lakes
2. Notre Dame study finds Asian carp DNA not widespread in the Great Lakes
3. Obama calls Ben-Gurion U. brain research a great idea
4. Are survivors of childhood leukemia and lymphoma at greater risk of chronic fatigue as adults?
5. Paving the way for greater use of ancient medical knowledge
6. Speech emerges in children with autism and severe language delay at greater rate than thought
7. Environmental threat map highlights Great Lakes restoration challenges
8. Mapping effort charts restoration tack for Great Lakes
9. Grant furthers Mercyhurst research for human pathogens in Great Lakes
10. Notre Dame research reveals migrating Great Lakes salmon carry contaminants upstream
11. University of Michigan, Michigan State University award grants for Great Lakes climate change research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/28/2016)... 28, 2016 "The biometric ... 16.79%" The biometric system market is in the ... the near future. The biometric system market is expected ... at a CAGR of 16.79% between 2016 and 2022. ... biometric technology in smartphones, rising use of biometric technology ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... November 22, 2016 According to the new market ... Print, Face, Vein, Signature, Voice), Multi-Factor), Component (Hardware and Software), Function (Contact ... MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to grow from USD 10.74 Billion in ... 16.79% between 2016 and 2022. Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:11/21/2016)... 2016   Neurotechnology , a provider of ... announced that the MegaMatcher On Card fingerprint matching ... the NIST Minutiae Interoperability Exchange (MINEX) III ... steps of the evaluation protocol. ... of fingerprint templates used to establish compliance of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 2, 2016 CytRx Corporation (NASDAQ: ... specializing in oncology, today announced the appointment of ... industry consultant, and private healthcare investor, to its Board ... leader with clinical and strategic experience at the highest ... and CEO. "As one of the world,s leading orthopedic ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... Aerocom Healthcare ( http://www.aerocomhealthcare.com ... will present its chain-of-custody solution for tracking and securing medications at booth 676 ... 4-8, 2016. , Aerocom has a proven solution for tracking medications via its ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... congratulate long-term client Nanowear on their recent FDA Class II 510(k) clearance for ... a significant hurdle in commercializing remote cardiac monitoring devices that rely on cloth-based ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , December 2, 2016 The immunohistochemistry ... growing at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period of ... and diagnostic laboratories segment accounted for the largest share of immunohistochemistry ... ... on global immunohistochemistry (IHC) market spread across 225 pages, profiling 10 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: