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#1 SharkCam Question

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Why do sharks attack REMUS SharkCam?

No other question comes up more then this one.  We don't know for sure yet but here is what the experts think....thanks Greg Skomal and Roger Stokey for your input here:

It is a great question: what triggers the attack? Looking at all the senses:

Electroreception: only effective in the near field (1 meter or less), so we don’t believe this triggers most of the observed attacks, which are initiated from greater distances.

Chemoreception: there are no olfactory or gustatory cues coming from the AUV.

Mechanoreception:

Hearing – shark ears are tuned to low-frequency sound (< 1kHz). The extent to which the AUV attracts the sharks depends on its sound spectrogram. We will update the results of the REMUS spectogram, but the short answer is that the low hum of the propulsion system can be heard by sharks.  But keep in mind it is even lower then the standard motor boat engine. This could be detected from far afield (100’s of meters).

Pressure – sharks have pit organs and a lateral line system for detecting pressure oscillations. It is thought these are low frequency near-field receptors (within a couple of body lengths) used for orientation (relative to currents, other animals (e.g., schooling), and the bottom) and prey detection. While it is possible that white sharks are using these receptors to orient to the AUV in the near field, we don’t think the pressure changes produced by the AUV trigger the attack from afar.

Photoreception: white sharks are considered very visual feeders well adapted to seeing in bright as well as low light conditions. We all agree that the visual stimulus provided by the AUV triggers the attack. It is well documented that white sharks attack inanimate objects (decoys, flotsam). The strategy is attack first, determine palatability later.

 As a wise software engineer once said, 'REMUS is a sitting duck out there, a big fat fishing lure'.

 More questions?  send them to remus@whoi.edu or tweet @remusauv or @amylkukulya



Last updated: June 29, 2016
 


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