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Sharks & Other Fish


Sharks! – virtual event recording

Sharks are one of the most iconic, and feared, groups of animals in our wild ocean. Like other apex predators, they play a crucial role in the ecosystem they call home. Join us to learn about sharks and their behavior and role in a healthy ocean with shark biologist Greg Skomal, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and WHOI ocean ecologist Simon Thorrold.

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Tagging Sharks to Study the Twilight Zone

Former WHOI Joint Program graduate student and current University of Washington postdoc Camrin Braun and his team on the charter fishing vessel Machaca managed to tag two porbeagles, a relative of the goblin shark, about 30 miles east of Chatham, Mass. One was a female nearly seven feet long and weighing 270 pounds. A male came alongside the boat while the team was tagging her and, when they were finished, they quickly hooked the curious male, which measured 6.5 feet and weighed 230 pounds.

Both fish are now equipped with fin-mounted SPOT satellite tags, which will report their location each time they surface and can last up to five years. For the Ocean Twilight Zone team, the big predators are an important indicator of where mesopelagic animals are collecting deep below the surface. In short, the predator will go where the prey is.

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Whale sharks are on the move, but why?

Science 101

Whale sharks are endangered, hard to track, and minimally protected, but thanks to a new tracking study and a lot more information, scientists have been able to monitor the movement of these gentle ocean giants.

Climate change threatens everyone’s favorite little fish

Cape Cod Times

The well-being of the colorful clownfish of “Finding Nemo” fame is closely tied to its habitat among the sea anemone, according to a 10-year study by an international team of scientists. The little fish does not appear to have the ability to adapt to the rapid environmental effects of climate change.

 

Basking sharks filmed by an AUV for the first time

Three things you may not know about basking sharks:
1.     The basking shark is the 2nd largest fish in the ocean.
2.     While it’s gaping mouth can fit a human, it filter feeds on tiny plankton.
3.     WHOI’s SharkCam captured the first Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) footage of basking sharks.
Learn more here: go.whoi.edu/basking-sharkcam

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Blue sharks use eddies for fast track to food

Blue shark

Blue sharks use large, swirling ocean currents, known as eddies, to fast-track their way down to feed in the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters deep containing the largest fish biomass on Earth, according to new research by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington (UW).

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A tunnel to the Twilight Zone

Blue shark

Scientists track hungry blue sharks as they ride swirling currents down to the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean containing the largest fish biomass on Earth

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Sharks & Other Fish

Fish serve important ecological and economic functions. Ecologically, they are both predator and prey, providing food for other animals, and serve to keep the numbers of prey species in check, many of which could destroy important ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangroves if their numbers are allowed to grow.

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Shark Facts

Nurse shark

What are they? Sharks are elasmobranchs, a group of animals that includes rays and skates, whose members have a skeleton…

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Flounder Now Tumor-free in Boston Harbor

Flounder Now Tumor-free in Boston Harbor

In the late 1980s, more than three-quarters of the winter flounder caught in Boston Harbor – ”one of the most polluted harbors in America – ”showed signs of liver disease, many of them with cancerous tumors. But now, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has documented a dramatic rebound in flounder health spurred by decades of remediation efforts, including a $3.8 billion project to construct a sewage treatment plant and a 9.5-mile discharge tunnel with a 6,600-foot-long outfall diffuser. The findings appear in the Nov. 20, 2018 issue of the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.

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The Secret Tuna Nursery

The Secret Tuna Nursery

WHOI biologists and physical oceanographers combine expertise to reveal a place in the ocean where some tuna are born.

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Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

The twilight zone is a part of the ocean 660 to 3,300 feet below the surface, where little sunlight can reach. It is deep and dark and cold, and the pressures there are enormous. Despite these challenging conditions, the twilight zone teems with life that helps support the ocean’s food web and is intertwined with Earth’s climate. Some countries are gearing up to exploit twilight zone fisheries, with unknown impacts for marine ecosystems and global climate. Scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are poised to explore and investigate this hidden frontier.

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