- Scientists have discovered sharks living inside one of the most active underwater volcanoes in the ocean.
- Sharks seem to have adapted well to their strange home, though researchers cannot determine why they prefer the area.
- One theory suggests that game fish are abundant there, making it an easy hunt.
There are many places that scientists would expect to find sharks in the ocean. Inside the wild cave of an active marine volcano is definitely not one of them. However, when researchers began studying the Kavachi volcano in the Solomon Islands with underwater cameras, this is exactly what they found.
A whole bunch of sharks of different species had gathered in the volcano despite a recent eruption. They seemed unmoved by the fact that ultra hot liquid rock was flowing beneath them, the sharks looked perfectly at home. But why? Since this discovery in 2015, researchers have tried to answer this question.
The underwater volcano is very active, and eruptions are common. With that in mind, you would think it would be a pretty dangerous place to collect sharks. Scientists have suggested that animals have adapted to this strange environment thanks in large part to a special feature of their bodies called Lorenzini ampullae.
like 9News explains, it is a collection of pores near the shark shell that can allow them to sense changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, which could give them an early warning that the volcano is about to erupt and allow they disappear at a safe distance.
“It seemed that the sharks in the volcano were used to dealing with eruptions,” said Professor Michael Heithaus, who has been studying sharks for several years. 9News. “You would think it was dangerous, but studies have shown us that they can detect approaching hurricanes and cyclones, so they may be able to detect when something bad is going to happen and get out of the way.”
But why exactly are sharks attracted to volcanoes in the first place? This is a question that still needs to be answered, although there are some strong theories circulating around.
“Extreme environments are something they can clearly handle; be it a volcano or surviving thousands of meters underwater, ”explains Professor Heithaus. “It really is not yet known why they are there. It could be something to do with reproduction, or who knows what else is living there. Maybe they are just sniffing.”
The idea that sharks would choose the area as a hunting ground makes good sense as fishermen would avoid the active volcano, allowing prey fish to thrive nearby and giving the sharks plenty to eat. Or maybe they just like living in a sauna.