Ocean engineer Brennan Phillips led a team to the remote Solomon Islands in search of hydrothermal activity. They found plenty of activity—including sharks in a submarine volcano. The main peak of the volcano, called Kavachi, was not erupting during their expedition, so they were able to drop instruments, including a deep-sea camera, into the crater. The footage revealed hammerheads and silky sharks living inside, seemingly unaffected by the hostile temperatures and acidity.
As Phillips explained, “One of the videos from inside the main caldera of Kavachi shows some jellyfish [ed. note: jellies aren't fish, but we'll overlook that] hanging out. They seem to be there naturally. And then we see some snappers and some small fish ... and then sharks start coming after the camera. Sharks are cool in their own right—all of them are—but a hammerhead is particularly neat looking. And they're in there, in numbers, inside the volcano!
The ancient whale Basilosaurus grew up to 65 feet long and ate just about everything. They were prodigious bone-crunchers, even known to chomp upon other whales. But it still came as a shock for fossil hunters to find the skeleton of a smaller whale inside a Basilosaurus in Wadi al-Hitan, Egypt, a UNESCO World Heritage site also referred to as “Whale Valley.”
It gets weirder, though: Scientists think that the whale-containing Basilosauruswas in turn eaten by a huge shark (or several).
The paleontologists found shark teeth near the two whales, and they hypothesize that one or several sharks ate the whale (duo) after they had already died
And, of course, evolutionary karma has bit sharks in the tail fin here: it seems like orca whales kill and eat great whites every chance they get.
Brownbanded bamboo sharks take the term “resourceful” to a whole new level. Steinhart Aquarium biologists at the California Academy of Sciences were taken aback when a shark egg case dropped by an adult bamboo shark showed signs of healthy development. The scientists had good reason for surprise: the aquarium’s female Chiloscyllium punctatum adults had spent nearly four years—45 months—in complete isolation from males.
When one viable egg resulted in the birth of a healthy pup, Academy scientists set out to examine this unprecedented example of sharks’ long-suspected (but little-documented) ability to store sperm over long periods of time. Their results, published in the Journal of Fish Biology (bernal-2015-spermstorage.pdf), mark the longest documented case of sperm storage in any species of shark, and highlight a bright bit of news for the future of wild sharks threatened by overfishing and habitat loss.
A 2014 study tested how bamboo shark embryos fared in warmer, more acidic water. The researchers placed the shark embryos in water that matched the projected scenarios of warming and acidification, a pH 0.5 lower and about 7°F higher than today’s levels and allowed them to incubate and hatch normally. Thirty days after hatching, survival of the sharks rapidly declined, resulting in more than half of the sharks dying.
Another study measured the effect on a shark’s sense of smell and, by extension, its hunting ability. Researchers found the dogfish sharks were not attracted to the smell of squid at carbon dioxide levels that the ocean is expected to reach by 2100. If a shark is unable to smell its prey, its hunting trips may not be fruitful.