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Sharks may be closer to the city than you think, new research finds

Researchers release acoustically tagged nurse sharks into the waters off Miami, Florida, to investigate shark settlement patterns associated with coastal urbanization. Credit: Robbie Roemer

Although the world’s coastlines are rapidly urbanizing, it is not fully understood how this increased human presence affects the species that inhabit the ocean. In a new study led by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosensteel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, researchers tracked the movements of three shark species, a bull, a nurse, and a great hammerhead in relation to the city of Miami. .. Given the chemical, light, and noise pollution that comes from large coastal cities, researchers expected sharks to avoid areas close to the city, but that’s not what they found.


Some animals, such as pigeons and raccoons, thrive in the city. Known as “urban exploiters,” these species often become dependent on human waste for food. Other animals known as “urban adapters” may show some use in urbanized areas, but still rely primarily on them. Natural area.. On the other hand, some species, such as terrestrial predators such as wolves, are very sensitive to human disturbance. These “city avoiders” avoid big cities.

“Few studies have investigated the movement of marine predators associated with urbanization, but other studies have shown that terrestrial predators are urban evaders. shark Neil Hammerschlag, director of the UM Shark Research and Conservation Program and lead author of the study, said: CityResearchers have concluded that the behavior of tracked sharks is similar to that of “urban adapters.” In this study, sharks dispose of carcasses of fish.

Great hammerhead sharks explore the shallow waters off Miami Beach and cruise under swimmers. Credits: JMac / Jason McIntosh

The relatively high use of tracked sharks in urban-affected areas can affect both sharks and humans. “By spending a lot of time near the coast, sharks are at risk of being exposed to toxic pollutants and fishing, which can affect their health and survival,” said Hammerschlag. Although shark bites are rare in humans, this study finds coasts that human water users can avoid to reduce the chances of negative encounters with sharks and promote coexistence between humans and sharks. It also identifies nearby areas.

A study entitled “Urban Shark: Occupational Patterns of Marine Apex Predators Related to Coastal Metropolitan Cities” was published in the Journal on June 16, 2022. Marine Ecology Progress Series..

Authors of this study include Neil Hammerschlag, Mitchell Rider, and Robbie Roemer of Ocean at UM Rosenstiel School. Austin J. Gallagher from Under the Waves; Lee Gutowski of Trent University.


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For more information:
N Hammerschlag et al, Urban Sharks: Occupational patterns of apex predators associated with large coastal cities, Marine Ecology Progress Series (2022). DOI: 10.3354 / meps14086

Quote: Sharks may be closer to the city than you think, new research from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-sharks-closer-city.html on June 16, 2022 Discovered a new study searched (June 16, 2022)

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Sharks may be closer to the city than you think, new research finds

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