Monday, July 22, 2024

A New Database Shows How Sharks Use The Ocean’s Depths


Scientists have set up a new database that shows them where sharks, rays and skates travel in the ocean — not just in horizontal distance but also in depth.

While some species spend their entire lives in shallow waters close to shore on the continental shelf, others plunge hundreds of meters or more off the slope waters into the twilight zone, beyond where sunlight penetrates. This new understanding of how elasmobranchs — the scientific word for sharks, rays and skates — use the ocean will enable policymakers and resource managers the opportunity to examine the threats these animals face, and guide future management and conservation plans.

A study published August 19th in Science Advances, led by Stanford University and ZSL (Zoological Society of London) researchers, is the largest global investigation of where and when a diverse group of elasmobranchs move vertically. A team of 171 researchers from 135 institutions across 25 countries brought together two decades’ worth of data from satellite and archival tags that remotely tracked the movements and behaviors of 38 species in oceans across the globe.

According to Samantha Andrzejaczek, co-lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station:

“For the first time, we have a standardized, global database that we used to fill important knowledge gaps about the diving behaviors of sharks and rays. This will enable better understanding of what fisheries interact with elasmobranchs and how to improve management of many of these long-lived animals.”

Check out the full study here.

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.