Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The physics behind great white shark attacks on seals

Date:
December 16, 2011
Source:
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Summary:
A new study examines the complex and dynamic interactions between white sharks and Cape fur seals in False Bay, South Africa; Offers new insights on physical and biological factors underlying predator-prey interactions in marine environment.

Scientists studied how sharks are camouflaged as they stalk their prey from below.
Credit: N. Hammerschlag

A new study examining the complex and dynamic interactions between white sharks and Cape fur seals in False Bay, South Africa, offers new insights on the physical conditions and biological factors underlying predator-prey interactions in the marine environment.

Related Articles


University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science assistant professor Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, and a colleague from the University of British Columbia, describe how sharks are camouflaged as they stalk their prey from below. Low-light conditions, from the optical scattering of light through water, along with a shark's dark grey back and the dimly light rocky reef habitat allow sharks to remain undetected by seals swimming at the water's surface.

"Animal hunting in the ocean is rarely observed by humans," said Hammerschalg, director of the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at UM. "The high frequency of attacks by white sharks on seals at our study site in South Africa provides a very unique opportunity to uncover new insights about predator-prey relationships."

Sharks typically search, stalk and strike their prey from below. The vast majority of predatory strikes by sharks and Cape fur seals occur against small groups of young-of-the-year seals. Predatory activity by sharks is most intense within two hours of sunrise and quickly decreases as light penetration in the water column increases.

"Stealth and ambush are key elements in the white shark's predatory strategy," said Hammerschlag.

Cape fur seals also have unique techniques to detect, avoid, outmaneuver and in some cases injure the white shark in order to avoid predation by sharks.

According to the authors, if a seal is not disabled during the shark's initial shark, the small seal can use its highly maneuverable body to leap away from the shark's jaws to evade a second strike.

The study, titled "Marine predator-prey contests: Ambush and speed versus vigilance and agility," was published in the Nov. 30 online edition of the journal Marine Biology Research. Hammerschlag's co-author is the late Dr. R. Aiden Martin.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Aidan Martin, Neil Hammerschlag. Marine predator–prey contests: Ambush and speed versus vigilance and agility. Marine Biology Research, 2012; 8 (1): 90 DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2011.614255

Cite This Page:

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "The physics behind great white shark attacks on seals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111209105326.htm>.
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. (2011, December 16). The physics behind great white shark attacks on seals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111209105326.htm
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "The physics behind great white shark attacks on seals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111209105326.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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