On August 8th, fisheries biologists Antonella Preti (Southwest Fisheries Science Center) and Lisa Natanson (Northeast Fisheries Science Center) participated in an online Twitter Feed, #SharkWeekChat, in honor of Shark Week. The chat was a success with numerous questions regarding all aspects of shark biology and conservation; however, one of the most surprising aspects came shortly afterward.
During the discussion, Preti referenced one of her videos showing the dissection of a huge mako shark stomach. Preti has dissected upwards of 2,000 swordfish and shark stomachs during her time at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center and of these, 200 were makos. Nevertheless, the shark in this video was one of the largest. Caught by a recreational fisherman off the coast of Southern California, the 1,323 pound, 12 foot long shark’s organs were donated to the Science Center, allowing scientists a look into its appetite. Instead of the usual fare of squid and teleost fish common in this species, Preti found the remnants of a sea lion. The video of this dissection elicits both scientific knowledge and public wonder, providing an inside perspective to scientists about sharks feeding habits and the public to an otherwise little known procedure conducted by scientists.
Since the release of the video amongst the twitter population, the video’s views have snowballed to near six digits and it has been highlighted on such sights as Huffington Post, Live Science, Fox News, and Inquisitor.
The Southwest Fisheries Science Center is especially delighted to find such public interest over one of the most common job practices of a shark fisheries biologist. It is the hope that this public interest will continue to aid in our mission of a healthy and sustainable wildlife populations in the future.
View A Mako Shark’s Last Meal
Read more: Large Pelagics Program
Read more: Highly Migratory Species
Read more: Shark Research
See more shark photos