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.
Located in the Pacific Ocean near the Mariana Trench, the Challenger Deep is the deepest known point of the ocean floor. Only four manned descents have ever braved the journey to this remote location. On March 26, 2012 filmmaker James Cameron piloted the deep submergence vehicle Deepsea Challenger to become the first person to complete a solo dive of this ocean frontier. Listen in as he shares his experiences and perspectives from his record-setting dive.
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.
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.
Every summer, the California surfing community enjoys the arrival of a long, regular swell from the southwest. The origin of the swell is in the winter storms of the southern hemisphere, some in the Indian Ocean, half way around the Earth.
In the latest program from Birch Aquarium’s Perspectives on Ocean Science series, join internationally renowned Scripps professor Walter Munk to learn how World War II and measurements of Guadalupe Island led to this discovery and what it means for surfers today.