Secret Lives of Sharks - Jaws Revisited

Research Reveals Shark Social Networks

Source:  Reef Shark Image 

Jaws Has Daily Gathering Times to Perhaps Share Information

New scientific research indicates that sharks have secret lives.  They form social network communities.  Some species of sharks have social lives that endure for years.  The solitary ocean predators may not be so solitary  A team of researchers, led by Florida International University marine biologist Yannis Papastamatiou, tracked with technology, the daily habits and social behavior of 41 reef sharks in an Atoll 1,000 miles southwest of Hawaii.  What they found is amazing.  Using acoustic transmitters to track the animals and camera tags to see the interactions, they documented that the sharks form social networking communities on a daily basis that can last for years.

Social Shark Communities

Some of these shark communities remained together for the four years of the FIU study.  The sharks spent mornings together in groups of 20 in the same part of the reef, dispersed for the rest of the day and night and then recongregated morning after morning.  Reef sharks are medium sized at 6 feet in length.  The researchers say other sharks species may be solitary.  But, the reef shark community networks are not about nesting, vocalizing or friendly interactions, like such community gatherings are with birds and some animal species.  The scientists think these community daily gatherings may be informational and provide individual shark members with the location of food prey for the day.  These predatory animals, now stalking many ocean shorelines this summer including as far north as Maine and on Cape Cod, are a lot more complex and smarter than we ever imagined before.


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