Study: Oceans 70 percent shark-free

February 22, 2006

An international team of scientists says the absence of sharks from abyssal regions of the world's oceans may mean some species are in danger of extinction.

The findings mean the world's oceans are about 70 percent shark-free, researchers said.

The oceans' abyssal zone remains in perpetual darkness at depths below 6,560 feet, with immense pressures of nearly five tons per square inch at its deepest.

It had been hoped that, as man explored deeper into the abyss, new shark species would be discovered. Scientists do not know why sharks are absent from the deep, but suggest one possible reason might be a lack of food.

They warn their finding has environmental implications. Professor Monty Priede, director of Oceanlab at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland said: "Sharks are already threatened worldwide by the intensity of fishing activity, but our finding suggests they may be more vulnerable to over-exploitation than was previously thought."

The findings are published in the Proceedings of The Royal Society, Biological Series.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Reef fish that conquer fear of sharks may help control excess algae

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor

January 17, 2017

In a new study, researchers at the University of California San Diego investigate why hair is incredibly strong and resistant to breaking. The findings could lead to the development of new materials for body armor and help ...

Researchers zero-in on cholesterol's role in cells

January 17, 2017

Scientists have long puzzled over cholesterol. It's biologically necessary; it's observably harmful - and nobody knows what it's doing where it's most abundant in cells: in the cell membrane.

Moving up the food chain can beat being on top

January 17, 2017

When it comes to predators, the biggest mouths may not take the biggest bite. According to a new study from bioscientists at Rice University, some predators have their greatest ecological impacts before they reach adulthood.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.