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According to a recent study, bull sharks are doing well in the waters off the coast of Alabama, despite an increase in ocean temperatures.
Climate Environment World News

According to a recent study, bull sharks are doing well in the waters off the coast of Alabama, despite an increase in ocean temperatures.

According to a study, the population of bull sharks, which are one of the biggest and deadliest predators that inhabit the ocean, is increasing despite the fact that higher ocean temperatures are causing the decline of other marine species.

A study conducted by Mississippi State University (MSU) revealed a significant increase in the number of juvenile sharks observed per hour in Mobile Bay in 2020 compared to the beginning of the study in 2003.

According to a recent study published in Scientific Reports, the ocean temperature in that area increased from an average of 72.1F (22.3C) to 73.4F between 2001 and 2020. This suggests that bull sharks are benefiting from the ongoing climate crisis. However, other experts warn of an imminent mass extinction event due to record-high ocean temperatures.

“The study is very intriguing because it goes against the commonly held belief that warmer water is harmful for many species,” explained Lindsay Mullins, the primary author of the study from the university’s coastal research center, in an interview with ABC News.

“Despite the environmental changes observed in the Alabama coastline, such as urbanization and warming waters over the past few decades, juvenile bull sharks have thrived and increased in size during this period.”

The team at MSU studied information from 440 bull sharks that were caught, tagged, and released by Alabama’s department of conservation and natural resources over a period of 17 years. They then compared this data to climatic data collected by remote sensors in Mobile Bay.

According to their findings, the population of bull sharks has increased five-fold, showcasing the influence of shifting environmental circumstances.

The report states that as climate change persists, there will be ongoing changes in coastal communities which will impact the composition of ecological communities and the productivity of nearshore fisheries.

Mullins also acknowledges Noaa’s strong and longstanding shark management program for maintaining healthy populations despite environmental obstacles.

She mentioned that the overall view of shark populations is still concerning due to their overfishing, unsustainable harvesting, and accidental capture as bycatch.

However, the United States stands out in having a particularly triumphant comeback narrative where the regulation of sharks has been handled effectively, leading to the revival of numerous species.

Bull sharks of the male gender have the potential to reach a length of 12ft (3.7 meters) and weigh around 500lb (227kg). They also possess a strong territorial nature. In 2020, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature classified this species as “vulnerable.”

The University of Florida’s ISAF reports that bull sharks living in coastal areas are often thought to be the most hazardous in the world. They have caused numerous confirmed human deaths worldwide and are believed to be behind many other attacks.

In Perth, Australia, a 16-year-old girl lost her life when she was attacked by a bull shark in a river. In a separate incident, a woman sustained serious injuries in January while swimming in Sydney harbor.

The amount of fatalities resulting from shark attacks across all types of sharks increased to 10 in 2023. This was twice the number reported in the previous year, a statistic that was deemed concerning by Gavin Naylor, the research director of ISAF.

Mullins stated that despite the reported rise in bull shark numbers from the MSU research, there is no corresponding increase in danger to humans.

The rise in number will not result in a rise in shark attacks. Readers of the article may worry, but it is crucial to note that the growth in population is occurring slowly and has been happening for the past few decades,” she stated.

Source: theguardian.com