Today’s Video of the Day from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science explores how changes in water temperatures have affected tiger shark habitats and movements in the North Atlantic Ocean. The study reveals that rising temperatures have caused the sharks to shift toward the poles over the past 40 years.
“Tiger shark annual migrations have expanded poleward, paralleling rising water temperatures,” explained study lead author Neil Hammerschlag. “These results have consequences for tiger shark conservation, since shifts in their movements outside of marine protected areas may leave them more vulnerable to commercial fishing.”
The researchers analyzed nine years of tracking data from satellite-tagged tiger sharks, combined with four decades of conventional tag and recapture data provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cooperative Shark Tagging Program.
The experts found that during the last decade of record heat, for every one-degree Celsius increase in water temperatures, tiger sharks migrated further poleward by over 400 kilometers. They also migrated two weeks earlier than usual to waters off the northeastern coast of the United States.
“Given their role as apex predators, these changes to tiger shark movements may alter predator-prey interactions, leading to ecological imbalances, and more frequent encounters with humans,” concluded Professor Hammerschlag.
Video Credit: University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science