Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Startling Deep-sea Encounter With Rare, Massive Greenland Shark

Date:
October 16, 2003
Source:
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
Summary:
During a recent submersible dive 3,000 feet down in the Gulf of Maine a HARBOR BRANCH scientist and sub pilot had the first face-to-face meeting ever in the deep sea with a rare Greenland shark.

During a recent submersible dive 3,000 feet down in the Gulf of Maine a HARBOR BRANCH scientist and sub pilot had the first face-to-face meeting ever in the deep sea with a rare Greenland shark. The docile 15-foot creature gently rammed into the submersible's clear front sphere before turning and swimming slowly away. The entire encounter was captured on video, a clip of which can be viewed by clicking under the shark's photo at: http://www.at-sea.org/missions/maineevent4/day14.html

Related Articles


HARBOR BRANCH researcher Marsh Youngbluth and his team were in the region studying a large jellyfish known as Nanomia cara, which can cause commercial fish catch declines by out-competing fish larvae for certain foods and by filling and fouling fish nets. He and submersible pilot Tim Askew, Jr. were startled by the huge shark's appearance and feared at first that it might damage the submersible or its scientific sampling equipment, though no harm was done. After the shark swam away from the submersible Askew followed it for several minutes.

Though in the early 1900s Greenland sharks were fished commercially, they have rarely been captured on video and never before from a manned submersible in the deep sea. Past encounters involved sharks swimming near the surface or attracted by bait.

Greenland sharks, also called sleeper or gurry sharks, have been known to grow as long as 21 feet, and are outsized only by great white, basking, and whale sharks. Greenland sharks are poorly understood but known for their lethargic swimming and a unique fishing technique. Small marine crustaceans known as copepods generally attach themselves to the sharks' eyes (and are visible in the new footage), possibly blinding them, but giving off light that attracts curious fish.

It is not clear how the sluggish animals are able to catch the fast-moving fish and squid commonly found in their stomachs. Some scientists have theorized that the sharks are able to swim rapidly in bursts, but there is also evidence that they are able to suck nearby fish into their mouths. During the Gulf of Maine encounter, even after ramming into HARBOR BRANCH's submersible, the shark continued to swim slowly. Greenland sharks also eat seals, dead whales, and other animals, including in at least one documented case, an entire reindeer. They are typically found in Arctic waters at depths down to 1,800 feet, but have been recorded as far south as the coast of South Carolina and at nearly 7,000 feet down.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. "Startling Deep-sea Encounter With Rare, Massive Greenland Shark." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031016064024.htm>.
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. (2003, October 16). Startling Deep-sea Encounter With Rare, Massive Greenland Shark. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031016064024.htm
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. "Startling Deep-sea Encounter With Rare, Massive Greenland Shark." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031016064024.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Since the start of the year, thousands of baby sea lions have washed up on beaches along the west coast of the United States. Marine animal care centers are working around the clock to save the stranded creatures. Duration: 02:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Scientists discover a new species of giant amphibian that was one of the largest predators on earth about 220 million year ago. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A rhino runs rampant down a bustling city street, killing one woman and injuring several others, before security personnel chase it back into the forest. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins