The R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation recently posted the video above to their Vimeo channel. The video is intended as a supplemental “visual abstract” for the research article “White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) Scavenging on Whales and Its Potential Role in Further Shaping the Ecology of an Apex Predator.” The study is based on observations of great white sharks feeding on the carcasses of whales in South Africa’s False Bay and the impact of these events on the surrounding marine ecosystems.
Some key behavioral observations during scavenging at the sites of the whale carcasses:
a tendency for the white sharks to feed on the fluke first, followed by blubber-rich content
an absence of eye rolling (to protect the eye) during feeding on the carcass
a broader variance in individual white shark sizes than is typically seen in the area
a lack of competitive aggression between white sharks
a size-dominance based hierarchy (aka “pecking order”)
You can learn more about the findings of this research by checking out the full journal article, which was written by Chris Fallows, Austin J. Gallagher, and Neil Hammerschlag.
Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, hosted by Andy Samberg, begins tonight on the Discovery Channel. “Great White Invasion” airs at 9pm, followed by “Jaws Comes Home” at 10pm.
“Great White Invasion” will follow Chris Fallows and a team of scientists who are trying to figure out why white sharks are “suddenly” being seen “in large numbers” among swimmers and surfers along the coasts of South Africa, Australia, and California.
“Jaws Come Home” documents researcher Greg Skomal’s 2010 tracking study of five Atlantic white sharks tagged off of Chatham, Massachusetts. Skomal’s goal is to better understand the sharks migration up and down the eastern coast of the U.S. through tracking data obtained from satellite tags.
Here’s another Shark Week 2011 promo from DiscoveryNetworks YouTube Channel. The clip is taken from the program “Great White Invasion” and features Chris Fallows free diving off Mexico’s Isla de Guadalupe with multiple white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). Guadalupe is know as one of the premiere locations for viewing great white sharks during the fall months.
Discovery’s new promotional video for “Ultimate Air Jaws” follows Chris Fallows as he attempts to understand why white sharks are coming in close to shore of the coast of Mossel Bay.
If this video is an indication of what we can expect from the network this year as far as promotional material for Shark Week 2010 goes, then I’d say they’ve made leaps and bounds in the right direction compared to last year’s marketing campaign. The promo video features some amazing slow-motion breach footage and seems to be more focused on information and education versus trying to drum up fear. Hopefully, we’ll see more of these types of promotional videos from Discovery leading up to this year’s Shark Week.