Our selection of top shark stories, highlighting the latest news and discoveries from around the world...

Sixgill Shark Filmed in Coastal Irish Waters for the First Time

30 July

Marine scientists from Trinity College Dublin have recorded what is thought to be the first video footage of a sixgill shark in Irish coastal waters. Usually found off the continental shelf at depths of 200-2,500 m, the coastal site where this 4 m individual was spotted is thought to be of significance to sixgills. The identification of this area could have significant implications for the conservation of this normally deepwater shark.

Uncovering the Secret Life of Basking Sharks

28 July

Scientists have obtained extraordinary footage of fin-to-fin synchronised swimming among Basking Sharks in the Sea of Hebrides, Scotland; behaviour thought to be associated with courtship. Using towed video cameras that are temporarily attached to a shark, scientists were able to capture large groups of up to 13 individuals swimming slowly next to each other. Check out the amazing footage for yourself!

How Sharks Support Healthy Ecosytems

27 July

Researchers have long cautioned the loss of sharks in an ecosystem would spell trouble on a much wider scale. But it’s always been a challenge to identify the exact influence of individual species and identify the true cost of losing it. Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project, a remote 8,800 square mile seagrass ecosytem in Western Australia, is proving to be an ideal place to find out. Studies carried out in this sanctuary continue to highlight how keystone species, like some sharks, may support more resilient ecosystems in the face of climate change.

New Species of Catshark Identified from the Indian Ocean

22 July

Scientists have identified a new species of deep-sea catshark in the Indian Ocean. Given the name Manocherian’s Catshark, this species belongs to the largest shark family – Pentachidae. From what’s known so far, Manocherian’s Catshark lives around seamounts, far from land. Now identified to species-level, scientists can carry out further research into any potential threats to it.

3D Images of Shark Intestines Reveal How They Function

20 July

There’s still much we don't know about the digestive system of sharks. But now scientists have created a series of high-resolution, 3D images of the intestines of nearly three dozen species of shark. Giving insight into how their spiral-shaped organs function. New methods, including using a CT scanner were used to obtain images. Researchers discovered these organs’ function much like the one-way valve invented by Nikola Tesla in 1920. These findings will help to uncover more about how sharks eat and digest their food.

New Species Highlighted for Shark Week

19 July

ICYMI…Manocherian’s Catshark wasn’t the only new species of shark, skate or ray to be described recently. New species are being discovered all the time, with many being identified from old specimens held in museums. Check out the other species to be described and officially named in recent weeks.

Changing the Shark ‘Attack’ Narrative

16 July

It’s no surprise, sharks have a bit of PR problem. Often referred to in less than favourable terms, and with language aimed to shock. Now researchers and conservationists in Australia are taking official steps to change this narrative.

Government websites monitoring human-shark incidents are changing the language they use. Instead of referring to incidents as ‘attacks’, they’re now referring to them as ‘negative encounters. The hope is that changing the language will help to change the public’s perceptions of these amazing, yet often vulnerable animals.

In Search of White Sharks in the Mediterranean

14 July

Records of humans encountering sharks in the Mediterranean Sea date back thousands of years. With records of White Sharks dating back to the 17th Century. This iconic species is still encountered in the Mediterranean to this day. But how many White Sharks call the Mediterranean home?

Scientists aren’t sure. What they do know is that despite being a prohibited species in the Mediterranean, this region continues to be a risky place to be a White Shark. Continued research is necessary to better understand the population.

Big Bull’s Offspring Located off Florida

14 July

Talk about finding a needle in a haystack, or in this case ocean! Shark researchers have encountered the offspring of a female Bull Shark they caught and released off the coast of Florida in 2012. Given the name ‘Big Bull’, the memorable female shark weighed in at an impressive 450kg. Following the analysis of blood samples, scientists discovered she’d given birth not long before they caught and released her. The likelihood of coming across her offspring many years later is incredibly low. So, these findings will provide important information on the population and distribution of Bull Sharks in the region and help to inform species management.

Rewilding of the Seas

4 July

We tend to be more familiar with the term ‘rewilding’ when it relates to species that live on land. But now researchers are looking into whether this is possible for dwindling populations of marine animals. The rewilding of Zebra Sharks in Raja Ampat, Indonesia is leading the way to become the world’s first site for the release of captive-bred sharks. And there are thoughts of rebuilding the population of Critically Endangered Flapper Skate in the North Sea.

Is there potential for rewilding of certain marine species? It looks hopeful. But ensuring good fisheries management is in place first is key, to ensure we don't end up back in the same position.

3D Technology to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trafficking

4 July

Identifying shark fins to species level when you don’t have the rest of the animal can be a challenging job. So, fisheries and customs officers in South Africa are being supplied with the latest Shark ID Toolkit to help. Including 3D replica shark fins of species listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The updated toolkit will help support effective management.

Study Finds Bull Sharks May Form ‘Relationships’ 

1 July

Research into the social behaviour of Bull Sharks in the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Fiji suggests they can develop ‘relationships’ with other sharks. Data collected from over 3,000 shark dives, spanning 13 years identified evidence for long-term connections between individuals. Yet, more research is needed to determine whether these preferred connections are in fact deliberate.

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Banner image: Zebra Shark © Lewis Burnett, Shutterstock