Shark’s-Eye-View Video Captures Epic Seal Chase Through Kelp Forest

Shark's-Eye-View Video Captures Epic Seal Chase Through Kelp Forest

We know that the white shark is one of the great marine predators but, what if we could put ourselves in the shark’s skin to observe how it sees when it is hunting? This is precisely what a group of researchers have done. A camera has collected the spectacular images.

This is the first time that large white hunting sharks have been caught in seaweed, the first time to observe this type of behavior that will help answer some of the questions that remain an unknown.

As explained by researcher Oliver Jewell of Murdoch University, in comparison with animals on dry land, approaching marine creatures like the white shark in the depths can be quite difficult. Jewell and a group of colleagues managed to connect cameras to the sharks to study how they hunt off the coast of South Africa.

This area of ​​the planet is particularly famous for its sharks, who hunt seals with a zeal rarely seen anywhere else, leaving the water to catch their prey. Previous research had shown that sharks normally attack the surface at twilight, when seals move between land and sea, which causes stress in the latter.

However, in the Dyer Island Marine Reserve, at the southern tip of the Cape, sharks are close to the seal colonies throughout the day, not just in the twilight. Here the seals exhibit lower levels of cortisol (stress hormones). Why?

Shark's-Eye-View Video Captures Epic Seal Chase Through Kelp Forest

Jewell and his team succeeded in tagging the dorsal fins of eight sharks with cameras designed to jump and float to the surface after a few hours, and then collect the data. The results, 28 hours of incredible images that revealed new behaviors for the first time, have been published in Biology Letters.

The images show the sharks through the seaweed fronds, navigating narrow channels. The seals, on the other hand, showed techniques of evasion, like blowing bubbles in front of the sharks. According to Jewell:

The film we picked gives us a new perspective on this species. We can see how they interact with their environment in real time, and are able to make 180-degree turns in the algae forest. In the past we would have to guess. Being able to see what these fish do in this habitat helps bring another layer of understanding to the behavior of these ocean giants.

Shark's-Eye-View Video Captures Epic Seal Chase Through Kelp Forest

None of the images captured showed the sharks hunting seals, which researchers say supports the theory that seaweed works on behalf of these creatures. [ Biology Letters via IFLScience ]

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