Shark News Roundup: the ecology of fear, curious whale sharks, and saving the manta rays

The shark blog-o-sphere has been busy lately. Here are some of the headlines from the world of shark science and conservation.

Chuck from Ya Like Dags has a fantastic post explaining the ecology of fear and how it relates to sharks. As it turns out, predators can have a major impact on an ecosystem just by being there- prey change their behavior in ecologically significant ways because they want to avoid being eaten. If you’re looking for scientific reasons why sharks are important to the ocean or if you’re just looking for a cool ecology story, check it out!

Al Dove of the Georgia Aquarium explains that whale sharks are curious animals that will  sometimes swim over to check out humans. I’ve found that most sharks tend to avoid people, but he has a pretty convincing video.

Richard of RTSea discusses the rare basking shark and their aggregations off the coast of Ireland. Studying the behavior of these animals may lead to important discoveries about the changing ocean environment.

The Dorsal Fin delivers great news for the conservation community- a seven year old girl has raised over $2,000 to save sharks. Congratulations, Sophi!

As part of my commitment to talk more about non-shark elasmobranchs, I want to bring your attention to a BBC news story. The government of the Maldives is trying to save the manta rays in their waters from being killed for traditional medicine, but they lack the resources.

Samantha Whitcraft of Oceanic Defense tells a sad story about a community in Mexico that was trying to use live sharks for ecotourism purposes until a fishermen killed them. This is a must read for conservationists and SCUBA divers.

The Philippines is considering a ban on the sale of shark fin soup– more on this as it develops!

Finally, no shark news roundup is complete without a cheesy shark movie trailer. Thanks to the Dorsal Fin for this gem: