Which of the following sharks is able to walk? The epaulette shark rely on its own unique traits to be able to survive the strain of its habitat within the Great Barrier Reef. One of them is the capability to walk.
It is a shark that has the ability to also swim for hours at a time, has been constructed to endure the toughest ocean conditions. Researchers are considering the creature which is one of a few species of walking sharks as a signpost of the effects of climate change in the years ahead.
A study looked at the way sharks respond to the possibility of climate change like rising temperatures as well as the possibility of a heightened concern over the way other species – that may not be as well-equipped to deal with climate change – will perform.
“Understanding the ways these animals do it, and why they’re so effective, could help us learn much about the traits required to endure in the future climate that we’re expected to observe,” Marianne Porter, an associate professor of biology at Florida Atlantic University who works in a group that studies the development of early life in the shark epaulette.
What is an epaulette? a.k.a. the shark that walks?
The slim, sandy-colored epaulette shark is adorned with a dark spot of black on its back which resembles an epaulet the shoulder piece on traditional military attire, according to Jodie Rummer who is a marine biology professor in James Cook University in Australia who has been studying the shark’s epaulette for more than a decade.
Numerous threats are constantly looming over the sharks of the epaulette. The shallow water it is in get extremely hot in the summer months in low tides. But , the tiny shark species is required to be able to endure the cold temperatures, and should it move to deeper water, it will be vulnerable to predators of larger size like bull sharks Rummer declared.
They utilize their ability to walk and cover themselves up in the crevices and corners of the reef, to keep from being picked up by predators from the air. They may even walk over the coral reef, and slide down into a tide pool.
During the day, the levels of oxygen in the habitat’s shallow areas increase to dangerous levels. After dark, they get dangerously low. But sharks are resilient.
“These sharks don’t have any kind of reprieve,”. “We discuss them as the most tough sharks of the Great Barrier Reef. They’re not as tough looking but they’re not fierce – but in terms of their physical characteristics they’ve got to be tough.”
Shark’s reaction to simulated the future weather conditions may be a the end of other species
Rummer, Porter and their team carried out research on sharks which was were recently published with peer review in peer-reviewed Integrative and Comparative Biology science journal. Their research focused on beginning of the life of sharks.
The eggs were kept in an environment that mimics the climate conditions that could be similar to those of the late 20th century. Rummer said.
Researchers were astonished by the impact that the simulation conditions caused on the development of the shark.
They were also smaller. The famous black spots started to change color. They were laying eggs faster. The yolk they draw their energy from during the beginning stages of their lives was depleted at a rapid rate, requiring sharks to learn to hunt for food earlier in their lives.
If the shark with the strongest strength in the Great Barrier Reef responded so negative to the ocean conditions that are to come, an even more grim picture could be drawn for the rest of Reef’s residents, Rummer said.
“If we determine that these conditions to be too stressing for the shark … This is an extremely important warning system for the other creatures living on the reef, and probably other shark species, too,” Rummer said.
Epaulette changes in population could alter the balance
The future of the ecosystem of the reef is also influenced by the health and wellbeing of the epaulette shark Rummer stated. As a mesopredatorthat also preys on smaller animals, and is preyed on by larger animals The shark is vital for maintaining the stability of the ecosystem.
“If the numbers of Epaulette sharks] shift in different ways as the environment is designed to, it can alter the balance of the ecosystem,” Rummer said. “That impacts areas of shallow reef which are linked to the more deep reef habitats, and eventually the open ocean too… thus you can think of it as being interconnected.”
The researchers are now trying to find out more about the are the genetic modifications sharks create to survive in warmer temperatures. It takes time, and for sharks like these, which achieve sexual maturity around a later age, and live between 10 and 20 years or more and a lot of time.
“What are we truly hoping for is this amazing, charming walking shark, that’s robust, yet not the kind of shark you’d think,” Rummer said. “To become a shining light for the education on climate change.”