Great white sharks hunt just like Hannibal Lecter?

Great white sharks hunt just like Hannibal Lecter

WASHINGTON (AP) — Great white sharks have some things in common with human serial killers, a new study says: They don’t attack at random, but stalk specific victims, lurking out of sight.

The sharks hang back and observe from a not-too-close, not-too-far base, hunt strategically, and learn from previous attempts, according to a study being published online Monday in the Journal of Zoology.

Researchers used a serial killer profiling method to figure out just how the fearsome ocean predator hunts, something that’s been hard to observe beneath the surface.

Great white sharks

“There’s some strategy going on,” said study co-author Neil Hammerschlag, a shark researcher at the University of Miami who observed 340 great white shark attacks on seals off an island in South Africa. “It’s more than sharks lurking at the water waiting to go after them.” Continue reading

Is the Discovery Channel still demonizing sharks?

Shark Week 2009 – I got an email from “WhySharksMatter” blogger David Shiffman asking for questions he should ask Discovery Channel producers about airing their infamous shark shockumentaries.

At first I fully agreed with him. Yeah! Let’s tell Discovery we’re sick of the shock-docs and we want shark shows that educate us on the magnificence of sharks and on why they need protection. Stop demonizing sharks with your “World’s Deadliest Sharks” and “Shark Attack Revisited in Gory Detail,” which do nothing but trick people into thinking sharks are man-eating monsters.

But has Discovery already gotten the message? It’s been awhile – years – since I watched Shark Week. I stopped watching when someone I thought was a shark-advocate got bitten (while filming for Discovery), then turned around and capitalized on his unfortunate accident. Erich Ritter’s “Anatomy of a Shark Bite” sickened me – as did the other shockumentaries detailing shark bite victims’ experiences. I knew Erich personally before his bite and was disappointed to watch as he negated everything we ever talked about. What was the point of that documentary? Shock value. Higher TV ratings. Ad revenue. DVD sales. Yuck. Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts Across America

Today, the White House helped to launch a new science report representing a consensus of 13 agencies developed over a year and half and focused on potential climate change impacts on the United States.

It’s the most comprehensive report to date on the possible impacts of climate change for everyone across America, and begins an important process of redefining the sort of information we need in order to deal with climate change at national and regional scales. Effectively managing our response to a changing climate falls into two general categories: Continue reading

Happy World Ocean’s Day

Let’s celebrate this first official World Oceans Day by recognizing the world’s 15 largest marine protected areas (MPAs) created to safeguard marine habitat around the world. Here’s the list and a bit about each one, plus some further comments and a special request below:

1. Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Kiribati (410,500 sq km) -— the largest MPA in the world, nearly the size of the land area of Sweden.

2. Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, USA (362,000 sq km) -— the highly protected Northwest extension of the Hawaiian islands with humpback whales, spinner dolphins, coral reefs.

3. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area, Australia (345,400sq km) -— one of the earliest MPAs and the first of any size, now 1/3 highly protected. Continue reading