Shark ‘singles bar’ in the Pacific?

November 10, 2008

 This map may show one of the most bizarre “singles bars” in the world — a part of the eastern Pacific Ocean where white sharks gather for up to six months in winter.

No one knows why, scientists say in a Census of Marine Life.

Each yellow dot shows a shark tagged with a tracking device — the mysterious gatherings between Hawaii and California have become known as the “White shark cafe” or a shark “singles bar”.    

They may be coming here for some new, unknown food source, or perhaps to find a mate. Some scientists speculate that they are here to give birth — small sharks are vulnerable to predators so it might be good to be born in what seems an open part of the ocean.

“There’s no obvious reason why they’re out there,” said Ron O’Dor, co-senior scientist of the census.

Any ideas why they sharks go there?



The 10-year census is due to come up with its findings in 2010, compiling work from 2,000 scientists in more than 80 countries. For a story, click here.

By understanding how life works in the oceans, it could help protect marine life from threats such as over-fishing, pollution and global warming. It might even help define rules for seabed mining.

Among other findings are that many octopuses (pictured left) had ancestors from Antarctica. They crawled around the world when new, northbound currents formed after the continent got covered by ice more than 30 million years ago.






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