One of the top ten most-freaky sharks is the nurse shark, which proves to be the vampire of the sea! Among the last great marine reptiles, a Tylosaurus, shadowed by an offspring, drives away a shark, Cretoxyrhina mantelli, in North America's Western Interior Seaway. To delete this file, click the file name with your mouse, then right-click and scroll down the menu to the "delete" option. To remove the photo permanently from the desktop, locate the photo on the hard drive and drag it to the trash. Two new reports find that great white shark populations are recovering after years of fishing pressure on the East and West Coasts. In fact, two new studies say that these iconic fish are doing better than expected off the East and West Coasts of the U.S.
Researchers credit the encouraging numbers to federal and state regulations put into place in the 1990s to protect great white sharks and many of the marine mammals that great whites are known to consume. The recovery trend played out in a combination of anecdotal and scientific data compiled for a study led by the U.S. In the end, it was impossible to put an absolute number on how many great white sharks are now swimming off the East Coast.
Tobey Curtis, a shark researcher with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and his colleagues also found that great white sharks are seasonal travelers, moving up and down the U.S. Most of the North Atlantic sampling researchers looked at occurred before the widespread use of satellite tagging over the past decade, says Curtis.
One intrepid female nicknamed Lydia went as far as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge earlier this yeara€”tens of thousands of miles away from where biologists first tagged her off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. And while the battle to protect great whites and allow their populations to recover is going well, it's only one front in the greater conservation war. Surf lifesaver, Bernie Williams, is diving with some friends when he is attacked by a shark. As vacationers head to the beach this holiday weekend, an expert says communities are taking a variety of approaches to keep swimmers safe.
Sharks like this one off the coast of French Polynesia can give beach-goers a scare if they get too close to the shore. Neff has studied how the public and governments respond to shark bites in North America, Australia, and Africa. The International Shark Attack File has noted that, based on their 2000 data, we have a 1 in 11.5 million chance of being bitten by a shark. My position is not that sharks are cuddly and we should be friends, but that they can be dangerous and a healthy respect for them is important. Also, people shouldn't enter the water with shiny jewelry or metal because it can look like a curious thing to check out.
Towns near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, are facing an increase in the great white shark population.
Cape Cod is facing a complicated issue and the balance between costs versus fear is an interesting one. I suggested conveying information to the publica€”like signs, texts, and radio adsa€”that explains the ocean is not a pool. Public education about sharks is not easy and communities around the world are still sorting out the right ways to talk with locals.
The answer for most of these communities is having notice boards to let surfers know there are risks when going into the surf, good on-site treatment and a nearby hospital to assist with any injuries, and outreach to the public and media to tell the full story. Second, not all shark attacks are created equal and there are many reported shark attacks when no one is bitten and there is no injury.
Beaches in South Africa's Western Cape recently started using nets to keep great white sharks away from swimmers during the day. The first thing to know about the exclusion nets at Fish Hoek beach (map) in Cape Town is that they are different than anything we have in the United States, or anywhere else in the world. I expect that the exclusion nets will work very well in Cape Town in conjunction with the ongoing Shark Spotter program. Cape Town is an ideal location for these kinds of nets because it is a low-energy beach, which means the waves aren't that strong, so the net will stay put.
Across the world the biggest problem with nets (whether they are steel or string) is that waves crunch them and the weight of the seaweed puts them on the bottom of the ocean. For the people of Fish Hoek, I think the partnership between the exclusion nets and the Shark Spotters is a good risk reduction strategy for that beach. You surveyed beachgoers in Cape Town, South Africa, about their pride in local marine life both before and after a shark bite occurred.
One thing that we did see empirically was a big drop for support of seals because a seal was involved in the shark bite. The survey also showed that government programs like the Shark Spotters did not lose confidence after the shark bite. Last year, Western Australia announced that it would allow the killing of sharks seen near swimmers. It is important to note that Western Australia has not actually killed any sharks under its policy. This policy allows for the killing of vulnerable great white sharks that are swimming by a beacha€”even after people are out of the watera€”if the state authorities deem it an imminent threat. The public is smart and way ahead of politicians and politics when it comes to sharks in the ocean.
In particular, we have seen truly remarkable statements from family members who lost their loved ones after a shark fatality. From a very early age, we are taught to place disparate aspects of nature in discrete conceptual boxes. Numerous other examples of nature’s complexity could be picked from the ranks of migrating animals featured in the show.
They imprison the intruders in the bowels of the hive and carefully remove any eggs they find. But in 1998, American beekeepers spotted the beetle in hives of their local European-descended honeybees. In the last decade, they have spread through hives on the East Coast, causing much more destruction than they normally get away with.


Now, scientists from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology and the University of Florida have uncovered the secrets behind the beetle's destructive ability. Baldwyn Tonto and colleagues found that the beetles are sensitive to much lower levels of these pheromones than the bees themselves are, and can detect a much wider ranger of airborne chemicals from the hive. Instead, the source of the smell was a type of yeast that hitches a ride with small hive beetles into the bees' home. The beetles' keen sensitivity to the bees' chemical messages allows them to initially home in on a hive. But the yeast also exists in Africa, where it is similarly spread to hives by hive beetles.
It faces a larger number of pests and problems that prevent it from concentrating on imprisoning invading beetles. With bee populations mysteriously dying off across America, the threat of the small hive beetle and its fungal partner may be even more pressing than before.
If I have one criticism of the show, however, it is that I was hoping for the influence of humans on these migrations to be made more starkly apparent. In the future, these inflatable modules could be used to construct a space habitat, or hotel. Who We ArePhenomena is a gathering of spirited science writers who take delight in the new, the strange, the beautiful and awe-inspiring details of our world. Erika Engelhaupt is the online science editor at National Geographic and manages the Phenomena blog network.
Maryn McKenna is an award-winning journalist and the author of Superbug and Beating Back the Devil. DisclaimerThe views expressed are those of the writer and are not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society.
Part of a group of carnivores called mosasaurs, whose fossils are found on every continent, Tylosaurus measured roughly 45 feet (14 meters) long.
The regulations were a response to declining great white numbers in the 1970s and 1980s, when commercial and recreational fisheries pressured the predatory species. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on great white shark numbers in the North Atlantic. But the researchers confirmed thata€”after a dip in sightings during the 1970s and '80sa€”their numbers started to grow again in the '90s. Today, tagging dataa€”compiled from many different research projectsa€”is coming in handy, allowing researchers to fill in gaps in their understanding of the sharks' movements.
For one thing, great white sharks on the East Coast probably haven't come back as much as their counterparts off the West Coast, where marine mammals have been recovering faster. It's a quandary that shark attack expert Christopher Neff, a doctoral researcher at the University of Sydney, strives to understand. He says that with more and more people using the ocean, the way we talk about shark attacks and the methods governments use to reduce the risk of shark bites have evolved over time.
Incoming storms can cause the tide to stir up baitfish, and we want to avoid getting in the way of sharks and their prey. How should local governments balance spending money to prevent the relatively remote risk of a shark attack with spending money on other important issues in their communities? Cape Town [in Africa] has been helped a great deal by issuing citywide press releases to tell people to be cautious during the summer season. If there is an incident, the closeness to shore makes a huge difference in whether the bite is life-threatening. Some excellent research out of Western Australia and Cape Town suggests that great white sharks come into shore more frequently when the water temperature is between 64aµ’F and 68aµ’F.
So if you know that there are white sharks in the area and that they are most likely to come inshore when the water temp is somewhere near 64­-70aµ’F, then each bather has information they can use in judging their level of risk. Everyone uses the beach in a different way and for different reasons, so finding one message is difficult. The problem is that as more people go in the water, stay in for longer, and do more thingsa€”like kayak, surf-ski, bodyboard, or kiteboarda€”the chances of having shark bites increases. In most cases, the outcome is not serious or not life-threatening, so conveying that is important.
I gave a TED talk on the myths around shark attacks and recently wrote an academic paper with Robert Hueter from the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, on this issue. For instance, our research showed that 20 percent of reported shark attacks in the Australian state of New South Wales did not involve any injury to the bather.
Hueter and I suggest four new categories that classify human-shark interactions by looking at the outcomes from the event.
Shark attack language gets people's attention but can convey a different story than what happened.
It is a dynamic ecosystem and the issue around shark bites is usually related to what was going on before you stepped into the water. But before we think about adopting them in other places, there are still a few problems to consider. In other places where culling nets are used (like Queensland, Australia, and Durban, South Africa), whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life are caught and killed in beach nets. Personally, I think the Shark Spotter program is among the best in the world, but again, that is localized because they have clear water, good vantage points, and types of sharks that sit on top of the water, so they are easier to spot.
This was important because the assumption is that politicians will be blamed, just like the mayor of Amity Island in Jaws.
Having said that, the Western Australian Government's preemptive shark hunt policy is, in my opinion, the least scientific, embraces the most Hollywood-esque image, and sends the worst message.
Children’s field guides and Facts on File-type cards tell us that particular animals live in specific places, eat particular foods, and otherwise give simple, easy-to-remember summations of the essence of nature. These massive predatory fish are well-known denizens of North America’s Pacific coast (among other places), but they do not spend the whole of their lives haunting the shorelines. The red crabs of Christmas Island, the wildebeest of eastern Africa, North America’s monarch butterflies, and the little red flying foxes of Australia are among the many familiar creatures which are tracked as they move from place to place.
The beetles move through beehives eating combs, stealing honey and generally making a mess. In turn, the beetle sometimes fools the bees by acting like one of their own grubs, and gets a free meal instead of imprisonment.


These insects are gentler versions of their aggressive African relatives, and in them, the beetles found more vulnerable victims.
When bees are stressed or confronted by threats, they release alarm pheromones into the air to alert their hive-mates of impending danger. With their superior senses, the beetles can home in on beehives before the bees themselves can sense the alarm.
Tonto found that honeycombs infested by beetles, but free of worker bees, were emitting a strange smell. Tonto found that the fungus was fermenting the pollen collected by the bees, and releasing chemicals that closely mimic the beetle-attracting alarm pheromones.
As they arrive, they bring the yeast along for the ride and distribute it among the hive's pollen stores.
They leave behind a sizeable store of pollen and honey, ideal breeding grounds for the unwitting partnership of yeast and beetle. And its poor sensitivity to its own alarm chemicals allows the beetle-yeast alliance to gain a strong foothold before the bees recognise the threat. Nature documentaries are often filmed in such a way that humanity does not enter the shot, as if there are still places of pristine wilderness not bordered by cities, cattle ranches, or shipping lanes. We can track organisms and document where they go, but the reasons why and how they do it are still incompletely understood.
Also see this month’s issue of National Geographic magazine for a tie-in article by David Quammen.
Phenomena is hosted by National Geographic magazine, which invites you to join the conversation. No Place Like Home is her space to talk about space—from other worlds to the fabric of the universe.
Laelaps is his writing laboratory, dedicated to sifting through natural history for tales of evolution, extinction, and survival.
Not Exactly Rocket Science is his hub for talking about the awe-inspiring, beautiful and quirky world of science to as many people as possible. Researchers looked at sightings from sources including scientific surveys, commercial fishery observer programs, recreational tournaments, commercial and recreational fishers, and newspaper articles published between the years 1800 and 2010.
They spend the winter months south of North Carolina, then start heading north in the late spring. It's recommended that bathers stay out of the water for 24 hours after a storm, not just [until] the next morning. The emphasis here is on individuals looking at their level of risk before they get in the water. But because of the seaweed and number of nets, they have to be checked regularly, and this has made the program the most expensive beach safety program in the world. We ran a statistical model on it and there was no connection between people's feelings about sharks and the shark bite incident having happened. As a globally distributed species, different populations have different migration routes, but the vignette presented by Great Migrations is of sharks which hunt elephant seals off Mexico’s island of Guadalupe but often travel over 3,000 miles to Hawaii (a trip which takes about seven months to complete). Among the most impressive of the show’s examples, however, is contained entirely within Jellyfish Lake.
Each program provides an extraordinary look into the lives of various creatures, from the familiar feast of the Nile crocodiles during the annual wildebeest migration to the search of Botswana’s zebras to find salt in the baking Kalahari desert. But the beetles can also detect these chemical signals and use the bees' own early warning system to locate their hives. The yeast ferments the pollen and releases chemicals that mimics the bee's alarm pheromone, attracting even more beetles .
Multitrophic interaction facilitates parasite-host relationship between an invasive beetle and the honey bee. David Wilcove highlighted how our species is altering the migration patterns of other species in his excellent book No Way Home, and while the show often mentions human influence it is only rarely that the effects our activities are having on migrations is truly made tangible. And, with every passing day, we are creating barriers to these migrations, forcing animals to find new paths or risk crossing paths with our species at their peril.
And after females give birtha€”typically to 2 to 14 pups at a timea€”they need about a year before they're ready for another pregnancy.
In all of these situations the issue is keeping our distance so sharks do not think that we are their competition [for food]. This finding is important because it means that if we can get real information that tells us what was going on, then we do not automatically blame the shark.
But here, we saw a terrible event where the public didn't blame the shark or the government because there was a reasonable alternative: The seal did it! Just why the sharks undertake this long journey is unclear, but the fact that they do forces us to reconsider what we thought we knew about their natural history. Because of years of selective breeding, the European honeybee is a slightly dopier version of the African bee - more docile and less prone to swarming.
Great Migrations documents some of the most wonderful events in the natural world, but how much longer these ancient migration patterns are followed is something that our species will increasingly influence as our relationship with global ecology continues to change. Among extant organisms, however, there is scarcely a better test of our preconceptions about animals than their constant cycles of travel over the planet, and National Geographic now celebrates these phenomena with their new miniseries Great Migrations.
Inside them live tiny zooxanthellae which internally nourish the jellyfish, but to keep their symbionts healthy the jellyfish must track the movement of the sun at the surface of the lagoon. The last remnants of a once more prolific group of artiodactyls, these migratory mammals are being squeezed by human development along their migration routes, having to duck through backyards and dodge eighteen wheelers as they hoof it across Wyoming. This would seem like a pretty safe lifestyle, cycling according to the movements of the sun each day, but it is not so simple as that.
I would have liked to see the migrations of other animals in the show documented in a similar way, but during a time when conservation messages can be a tough sell for documentary producers I think National Geographic should be applauded for taking such steps to put animal migrations in the context of the world we are quickly altering.



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