Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Discovery Lecture Series

Friday, October 1, 2021
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

The Secret Social Lives of Sharks

by Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou from Florida International University

Sociality can be found throughout the animal kingdom including mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. However, sharks have rarely been considered social but rather thought to be nomadic and solitary hunters. With advancements in technology and analytical tools, we are now starting to see that many shark species display a surprising array of social grouping behaviors.

Dr. Papastamatiou will review the reasons why we might expect to see social behavior in sharks including hunting, safety from predators, mating tactics, and hydrodynamics. He will discuss the methods by which we can study animal sociality in the wild and then give examples of two case studies. Grey reef sharks at an uninhabited Pacific Atoll form stable social groups, with some sharks forming associations that last at least 4 years. Sharks form social groups with other individuals that use the same regions of the atoll, similar to what you might see at seabird colonies.

Lastly, he will discuss social hunting tactics in white sharks at an isolated Mexican island. White sharks form strong social associations with other sharks, but these are short lived, and donít last long. Overall, he will show that some shark species can be social, but we are only just starting to understand the dynamics of these behaviors and the reasons why they have evolved.



Facebook icon  Linkedin icon  StumbleUpon icon  Twitter icon