Shark behavior before hurricanes offers human insights

Shark behavior before hurricanes offers human insights

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Prior to major hurricanes, numerous smaller sharks migrate to calmer, deeper waters. This behavior holds potential for assisting scientists in predicting severe storms with greater foresight.

According to research, some sharks relocate to deeper, calmer seas well in advance of when people forecast powerful hurricanes. Sharks are now being marked in an effort to gather data that cannot be obtained by conventional ocean equipment..

How do sharks anticipate hurricanes?

Sharks detect air pressure drops during hurricanes, distinguishing them from smaller storms. Their proficiency may stem from sensing distant electrical fields, facilitated by sensory pores in their snouts. These pores enable them to detect weak electric fields in prey. Hurricane-generated winds and waves also yield electrical fields. Michael Heithaus, a shark researcher from Florida International University, highlights the notion of animals as oceanographic aids.

Do sharks also relocate during hurricanes?

Various shark species have developed distinct strategies over millions of years of evolution and hurricane exposure. Smaller sharks seek refuge in deeper, tranquil waters away from coastal turbulence to prevent being stranded on land. In contrast, larger sharks like tiger sharks capitalize on the situation, engaging in feeding frenzies by scavenging weaker creatures hit by debris. This might lead them to remain near to shore during the storm.

How do sharks assist in predicting hurricanes for humans?

Utilizing satellite tags on sharks enables researchers to collect oceanographic data more efficiently and affordably than using underwater weather drones. Technological progress has enabled the application of these sensors on smaller creatures like sharks. The data they provide can seamlessly integrate with traditional buoys and gliders. The sharks' ability to navigate strong currents and their pre-hurricane movements make them valuable sources of information. Tracking their journeys can significantly enhance researchers' early understanding of impending storms.

USA Today

Press releases from Divers Alert Network (DAN)