A Social Network for Sharks?

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Ever since the movie Jaws came out, people worry more about sharks while in the water. However, sharks aren't out there just  to scare people, they play a very important role in ocean ecosystems. This is why researchers at the University of Delaware created an underwater robot to track sand tiger sharks. Sand tiger sharks are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, so it is critical that scientists begin to learn what conditions are ideal for these creatures.

Since 2006, researchers have tagged about 500 sharks along the East coast, and what the robot is able to do is read any of these tags. The robot can tell the researchers where the shark is and even who it is with. "It's like a social network for sharks," said Matthew Oliver, the head researcher on this project. By using the robot, researchers are able to tell where the sharks are migrating to and where they "hang out." By using this information, the researchers can learn more about the ideal conditions for these sharks. Sand Tiger sharks are the largest sharks that can be found around the Delaware Bay and other surrounding costal waters. Because they are typically the largest sharks around, the are at the top of the food chain. By eating other, weaker fish, they keep the ecosystem in balance. Without them, everything would be out of sorts.

All around the world, many species of sharks face unknown futures. The oceans' are losing many to shark fin fishermen who kill the sharks just for their dorsal fins and then throw the remaining parts of the shark back in the water. Sharks are extremely important for our enviroment and we need them in the oceans. Scientists and researchers need to learn more about them so that we can prevent extinction among the many species of sharks.


1 Comment

I was watching Discovery channel during shark week and became rather interested in sharks themselves. When I was reading this the first thing that popped into my mind was the fact that everyone is so terrified of sharks when really there are many other things that can harm Americans way more periodically than a shark does. More people have died by getting crushed by a television than by dying from a shark bite. On BUZZFEED i found twenty things that kill more people each year than a shark does. These twenty things include:

7)Autoerotic Asphyxiation
8)Shopping on Black Friday
9)Falling out of bed
13)Hot dogs
18)High School Football
19)Vending Machines
20)Roller coasters

Now after all of these BIZARRE things comes sharks. That just shows how little sharks harm people annually. So essentially we should not be afraid to be swimming in the ocean, what we should be afraid of is the vending machine you are buying that soda from!

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