Study unlocks the secrets of shark society

Study unlocks the secrets of shark society

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 30th November 2015 by Media Relations

A group of Port Jackson Sharks have been released back into the wild after taking part in an exciting research project seeking to unlock the secrets of shark society.

Taronga’s Seal Cove exhibit played host to 10 sharks for two months in the next stage of a study delving into the social behaviour of sharks.

Together with researchers from Macquarie University, we’ve been examining the social structure of a Port Jackson Shark breeding group at Jervis Bay since 2012, tagging and tracking the sharks to better understand their behaviour.

We recently discovered that some of our Jervis Bay sharks are travelling as far south as Tasmania during their annual migrations, returning to the same sites within Jervis Bay to breed year after year.  That’s more than 2000km!

Conducting further research in a controlled environment here at Taronga is an essential step to translating the data we’ve been collecting in the wild.

As part of the research we fitted the sharks with transmitters and accelerometers to help us determine not only where they go, but also why they are travelling such long distances.

The sharks were released back into the wild earlier this month, but their transmitters will continue to send valuable research data for up to 10 years.

By understanding the formation of shark aggregations and shark society, we will learn how to better manage shark populations and maintain healthy marine ecosystems.

- Taronga Researcher, Dr Jo Day.