Thursday, May 8, 2008

Greenland Sharks "Monsters" of the Arctic

And you thought Canada was one of the least sharky places on the planet...think again. This week Canadian biologists are tagging and tracking this cold water "denizen of the deep" in an effort to understand more about them.

These are the same critters accused of stalking and graphically de-rubberizing young seals off the coast at Sable Island.

Canadian fish scientists are opening a window into the mysterious world of the Greenland shark -- the top predator in the Canadian Arctic about which almost nothing is known.

Except this, says Steve Campana of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography: "These are very, very strange sharks."

Its meat is poison. Its mouth is far under its body. It has almost no spine. It's so lethargic that it doesn't even snap at the scientists who hook it and attach a radio to it.

In the eastern Arctic "this is the apex (top) predator, the king of the food web, along with the polar bear. There's a sister species in the western Arctic. And as with any ecosystem, if you don't know anything about the apex predator, you're in a lot of trouble figuring out what's going on."

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