Experts have found a deep-water shark nursery filled with ‘hundreds of the apex predators and innumerable amount of shark eggs near Tel Aviv, Israel that they believe could have important implications for understanding climate change.
The discovery, led by experts at the University of Haifa, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research and other institutions, was almost made by accident, as the researchers were looking at the Eastern Mediterranean Sea because of its vulnerability to climate change.
‘This was happening under our noses for thousands of years, right next to Tel Aviv, one of the largest cities in Israel,’ said Dr Yizhaq Makovsky, one of the leading researchers, in a statement.
‘It was hiding in plain sight, which highlights how little we know about the deep sea — not just off the coast of Israel, but around the world. This is a global challenge.’
A deep-water shark nursery with ‘hundreds’ of sharks was found near Tel Aviv, Israel
The researchers also discovered deep sea brine pools and related habitat hotspots as part of their work.
The area had previously been thought of ‘as an ocean desert,’ according to Makovsky, with little in the way of marine life.
Israel is know for being a hotspot for sharks, according to the Jerusalem Post, including species such as dusky and sandbar sharks, both of which are endangered in the area.
It’s possible the nursery could be the largest mating location for deep-sea sharks, experts believe.
The discovery was almost made by accident, as researchers were looking at the Eastern Mediterranean Sea because of its vulnerability to climate change
However, the size of the nursery surprised the researchers, not only for the discovery itself, but also what it means to the region as it pertains to rising sea temperatures.
‘From a global marine research perspective, this discovery can have enormous implications,’ Dr Makovsky added.
The research was done as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals ‘Life Below Water’ initiative, which is designed to help save the ocean and biodiversity from the effects of climate change.
The Eastern Mediterranean ‘can be regarded as an early-warning system’ for climate change. It has experienced multiple climatic and anthropogenic changes at different time scales
It’s possible the nursery could be the largest mating location for deep-sea sharks
This is due in part to the fact that the Eastern Mediterranean ‘can be regarded as an early-warning system,’ Makovsky explained.
‘Therefore, we believe that our discovery of a previously unknown deep-sea hotspot of life could provide crucial information for the sustainability and resilience of the marine ecosystem not only in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also globally in other oceans.’
Makovsky continued: ‘The deep sea is the Earth’s climatic capacitor, mitigating short-term changes. Once the impact of surface synoptic changes migrates to the deep sea, the entire climate of the Earth changes. The Eastern Mediterranean Sea experienced multiple climatic and anthropogenic changes at different time scales.
‘Investigating the geological and environmental records concealed in this hotspot will provide a high-resolution record of the impact of changes on the deep sea, which is essential for understanding local and global climatic changes.’
The new actions come in light of the United Nation’s damning report that said global warming is already causing extreme weather and the world will see a temperature increase of 2.7F by 2040, compared to a previous forecast between 2030 and 2052.
It is ‘unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land,’ the report warned.
The lengthy report added that it is virtually certain’ heatwaves ‘have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions’ and a rise in sea levels approaching 6 feet by the end of this century ‘cannot be ruled out.’
In July, a number of blacktip reef sharks were spotted off New York’s coastline that are not native area, with officials noting they likely moved north because of climate change.
In February, researchers in California found that great whites were moving north off the California coast, from Santa Barbara all the way to Bodega Bay, to seek cooler waters as a result of climate change.
Though climate change is impacting the migrations and hunting patterns of the apex predators, it’s also impacting how they swim.
In March 2020, Australian researchers found that sharks became ‘right handed,’ swimming to the right, after swimming in tanks heated to simulate temperature changes that are expected by the end of the century.
Rising sea temperatures may also negatively impact young sharks by shortening their freeze response times they implement to keep from being eaten by predators such as large fish and other sharks, a recent study found.
HOW SHARKS EARNED THEIR RUTHLESS REPUTATION
As a new study sheds light on the hunting and feeding behavior of sharks, including the dangerous bull shark, these apex predators have long terrified and fascinated humans at the same time.
Their basic design has never really changed over the course of 200million years and they are considered to be complex and intelligent.
Their teeth are fear factor number one, with the great white’s teeth growing up to two-and-a-half inches in length.
Their prey are impaled on the pointed teeth of the lower jaw where they saw away sections of the flesh. The serrated edges of the teeth help with this process.
Their teeth are brittle and are constantly breaking off but are also constantly regrowing and on average there are 15 rows of teeth present in the mouth at one time.
Sharks are the most efficient predators on earth. Their basic design has never really changed over the course of 200million years
Their speed is fear factor number two.
They are very fast in the water compared to humans with the mako shark able to reach an incredible 60mph in bursts.
The great white can reach speeds of 25mph.
By comparison, 5mph is the fastest a human being can reach.
Bull sharks, commonly found in warm waters, are likely responsible for the majority of near-shore shark attacks, including biting other species.
A shark’s power and size terrifies us, too.
The great white shark can grow up to 20 feet and while it has no particular taste for humans even an exploratory bite is enough to cut a man in half.
Most sharks release a human after its first bite but sometimes, that’s all it take to kill a person.
However, sharks have far more reason to be afraid of humans. We kill up to a million of them a year, often just cutting off their fins to make into soup and throwing the rest of the shark back into the water, where it starves or drowns.