Biologists at the University of Hawaii and the University of Tokyo strapped cameras on the pectoral fins of 14 tiger sharks, six Galapagos sharks, five sandbar sharks, five bluntnose sixgill sharks and a single prickly shark, and let them loose to swim about in their natural habitat.
“I was really amazed by all the images we got back,” Carl Meyer, a marine biologist at the University of Hawaii who led the experiment, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s mesmerizing to see that shark’s-eye perspective of the shark interacting with the coral reef and the fishes.”
The camera-strapped sharks not only offered a unique glimpse into their underwater world, but also showed -- for the first time -- different species swimming together in schools.
“We had no idea that these mixed-species aggregations existed,” Meyer said, “even though it’s just a few miles offshore.”
Scientists think the smaller species travel together for protection from the larger, more aggressive tiger sharks that share their hunting grounds.
Earlier this year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature released a study showing that a quarter of all shark and ray species are headed toward extinction.
Scientists say a more detailed analysis of sharks' daily habits and eating patterns can help conservationists better understand how to predict the majestic predators' behavior.
Attaching cameras to animals has become a neat new trick for biologists trying to appreciate the perspectives of the animals they study. Last week, a remarkable video filmed from the beak of a flying pelican made its way around the internet.
[Los Angeles Times]