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shark vertabrae

Shark Secrets

To help devise effective strategies that protect endangered sharks, scientists need basic information about where elusive species live, mate, and give birth. MIT/WHOI Joint Program graduate student Li Ling Hamady from the WHOI Fish Ecology Lab is discovering clues to sharks' behavior by studying vertebrae from sharks that have stranded and died. A thin section cut from one vertebra shows alternating light and dark layers of tissue, laid down sequentially over a shark’s lifetime. Similar to tree rings, these layers may preserve a chemical record of environmental conditions the shark was exposed to and reveal its habits and habitats. (Photo by Li Ling Hamady, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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