Connect with us

Conservation Africa News Magazine | African Wildlife & Conservation News

Conservation Africa News Magazine | African Wildlife & Conservation News

Endangered Animals – New shark research targets a nearly endangered species


Conservation Africa News

Endangered Animals – New shark research targets a nearly endangered species

They are some of the most iconic and unique-looking creatures in our oceans. While some may think they look a bit “odd,” one thing researchers agree on is that little is known about hammerhead sharks. Many of the 10 hammerhead shark species are severely overfished worldwide for their fins and in need of urgent protection…

Endangered Animals –

They are some of the most iconic and unique-looking creatures in our oceans. While some may think they look a bit “odd,” one thing researchers agree on is that little is known about hammerhead sharks. Many of the 10 hammerhead shark species are severely overfished worldwide for their fins and in need of urgent protection to prevent their extinction.

To learn more about a declining hammerhead species that is data poor but in need of conservation efforts, a team of researchers from Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Center (SOSF SRC) and Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), Fisher Finder Adventures, the University of Rhode Island and University of Oxford (UK), embarked on a study to determine the migration patterns of smooth hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna zygaena) in the western Atlantic Ocean. This shark, which can grow up to 14-feet (400 cm), remains one of the least understood of the large hammerhead species because of the difficulty in reliably finding smooth hammerheads to allow scientific study.

To learn about smooth hammerhead behavior, the research team satellite tagged juvenile hammerhead sharks off the US Mid-Atlantic coast and then tracked the sharks for up to 15 months. The sharks were fitted with fin-mounted satellite tags that reported the sharks’ movements in near real time via a satellite link to the researchers.

“Getting long-term tracks was instrumental in identifying not only clear seasonal travel patterns, but importantly, also the times and areas where the sharks were resident in between their migrations,” said Ryan Logan, Ph.D. student at NSU’s GHRI and SOSF SRC, and first author of the newly published research. “This study provides the first high resolution, long term view of the movement behaviors and habitats used by smooth hammerhead sharks — key information for targeting specific areas and times for management action to help build back this depleted species.”

The researchers found that the sharks acted like snowbirds, migrating between two seasonally resident areas — in coastal waters off New York in the Summer and off North Carolina in the Winter. Their residency times in these two locations coincided with two environmental factors: warmer surface water temperatures and areas with high productivity — indicative of food rich areas.

“The high resolution movements data showed these focused wintering and summering habitats off North Carolina and New York, respectively, to be prime ocean “real estate” for these sharks and therefore important areas to protect for the survival of these near endangered animals,” said Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., director of NSU’s GHRI and SOSF SRC, who oversaw the study.

Identifying such areas of high residency provides targets for designation as “Essential Fish Habitat” — an official title established by the US Government, which if formally adopted can subsequently be subject to special limitations on fishing or development to protect such declining species.

The tracking data also revealed a second target for conservation. The hammerheads spent a lot of resident time in the winter in a management zone known as the Mid-Atlantic Shark Area (MASA) — a zone already federally closed for seven-months per year (January 1 to July 31) to commercial bottom longline fishing to protect another endangered species, the dusky shark. However, the tracking data showed that the smooth hammerheads arrived in the MASA earlier in December, while this zone is still open to fishing.

“Extending the closure of the MASA zone by just one month, starting on December 1 each year, could reduce the fishing mortality of juvenile smooth hammerheads even more,” said Shivji. “It’s particularly gratifying to see such basic research not only improving our understanding of animal behavior in nature but also illuminating pathways for recovery of species and populations that have been overexploited so we can try and get back to a balanced ocean ecosystem.”

The tracks of the smooth hammerheads (and other shark species) can be found here: http://www.ghritracking.org.

The Most Powerful Sale & Affiliate Platform Available!

There's no credit card required! No fees ever.

Create Your Free Account Now!

Story Source:

Materials provided by Nova Southeastern University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top Stories

Wildlife Photography
Himalayan Goral - Spending an entire afternoon with Brown Gorals
Snowy Owl Rockstar - Most Unmistakable Owls

Conservation Awareness

Snowy Owl Rockstar – Most Unmistakable Owls

By October 14, 2020
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – First Clone of Endangered Przewalski’s Horse Born in Conservation Effort to Save the Species
Importance of wildlife conservation – The intellectual vacuity of New Scientist’s evolution issue: 4. The supposed importance of genetic drift in evolution
Importance of wildlife conservation – How do giraffes and elephants alter the African Savanna landscape?
Benefits of wildlife conservation – Houston Botanic Garden Officially Opens, Showcasing Bayou City’s Biodiversity in New Living Museum for Plants
Importance of wildlife conservation in points – Superfrogs in the city: 150 year impact of urbanization and agriculture on the European Common Frog
Benefits of wildlife conservation – U.S. News & World Report Announces the 2021 Best Colleges Rankings
Benefits of wildlife conservation – New method adds and subtracts for sustainability’s true measure
Benefits of wildlife conservation – Wyndham Destinations Presenting Today at the J.P. Morgan Management Access Forum; Provides Operational Updates
Importance of wildlife conservation – Old males vital to elephant societies
Importance of wildlife conservation – Bindi Irwin shares pregnancy update, says baby is the size of a hummingbird
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – Scientists clone endangered horse from genetic material frozen 40 years ago

Tags

Wildlife Photography
Himalayan Goral - Spending an entire afternoon with Brown Gorals
Snowy Owl Rockstar - Most Unmistakable Owls

Conservation Awareness

Snowy Owl Rockstar – Most Unmistakable Owls

By October 14, 2020
Endangered Species - Common species mirror rare animals response to global change
Wildlife Conservation Jobs – Coronavirus: 300 self-isolating after outbreak linked to charity football match
Wildlife Conservation Jobs – Founder of ‘pro-Brexit’ think tank ‘buys EU passport via Malta’
Wildlife Conservation Jobs – Tony Abbott: Former Australian PM made senior UK trade adviser despite outcry
Wildlife Conservation Awareness – First Clone of Endangered Przewalski’s Horse Born in Conservation Effort to Save the Species
Endangered Animals – Congrats, humans: We’ve saved up to 48 species from extinction
Endangered Animals – Wildlife trade threats: The importance of genetic data in saving an endangered species
Importance of wildlife conservation – The intellectual vacuity of New Scientist’s evolution issue: 4. The supposed importance of genetic drift in evolution
Importance of wildlife conservation – How do giraffes and elephants alter the African Savanna landscape?
Wildlife Biologist – Rescue of stranded whales in Australia enters final days – Reuters
Conservation International Jobs – A bit rich: Business groups want urgent climate action after resisting it for 30 years
Conservation International Jobs – Henry Cavill Goes Running in a Lion Hat for the Durrell Challenge
To Top