On the surface, it might seem like an ocean without sharks would be a more enjoyable place. But, these predators play a very important role in the ocean ecosystem and they need our protection just like many other ocean dwelling creatures.
Sharks have been at the top of the food chain for hundreds of millions of years, but today their populations are in danger because of human activities, such as overfishing and finning (this is when people catch sharks, remove the fins, and dump the carcass overboard).
Andrew P. Nosal, Ph. D, Birch Aquarium’s new DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow for Ecology and Conservation, shares his shark expertise with the Perspectives on Ocean Science series in order to explain that all sharks are not the evil villains seen in movies, but are essential in maintaining a balanced ocean.
We’ve been to the moon and we’ve explored remote corners of our universe. What is next in our quest to unlock the secrets of our solar system?
Hear from Charles Kennel, chair of the National Academy’s Space Science Board and former Scripps Institution of Oceanography director, as he reviews NASA’s past accomplishments, present projects, and anticipated goals in “The Future of Human Space Exploration.”
To see more programs on Astrophysics and Space Science, visit our archive.
Leopard sharks are a special species of shark found only along the West coast of North America, their territory spanning from Washington to Baja California. A distinctive characteristic of these creatures is their mild temperament. Unlike most sharks, which will bite anything that might be food, leopard sharks are timid and have such small mouths that they pose essentially no danger to humans. In fact, a leopard shark bite on a human has never been recorded by the International Shark Attack File.
Every Summer La Jolla Shores is the gathering site of hundreds of leopard sharks. A common misconception of this behavior is that these sharks convene here to mate or give birth, but in fact scientists are not quite certain what they do at this annual conference.
Wildlife conservation is a well established notion within Western culture, but convincing developing nations about its importance can be challenging.
Lisa Ballance, Director of the Marine Mammal and Turtle division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southwest Fisheries Science Center explains that although the United States has implemented policies like the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, animals don’t understand and abide by geopolitical boundaries.
The mission of the Marine Mammal and Turtle Division is mainly to assess the status and trends of these animals’ health and livelihood within their ecosystem, as well as identify and mitigate threats and educate others on the science of conservation.
Did you know there are unheard sounds in the Earth’s atmosphere that can travel all the way around the world?
Dr. Michael Hedlin of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography explains that when massive events occur in the atmosphere low frequency sounds are generated that can be received all over the earth, depending on the magnitude of the event. Much like when there is an earthquake and seismic waves can be read on seismometers around the planet.
Although we cannot hear these sounds because of their low frequencies, there is still a lot they can tell us about things like volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts.