Are the Warming Temperatures of the Gulf of Maine Affecting Local Shark Populations?
Southern New Hampshire University
The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest warming waters in the world. The temperature of these waters plays a large role in the survival of all the species that live there, from influencing their behavior, to how the find food and what kinds of food they can find. The primary objective of this study was to understand and describe the effects the warming of the Gulf of Maine has on local shark populations in regard to their feeding habits, migratory patterns, and interactions with humans. This study was primarily done through the use of previous studies which used methods of tagging and looking at past information to both track shark movement through the areas, as well as look at past warming trends in the Gulf of Maine and to predict future warming trends and how the warming affects species commonly used as prey by sharks. By looking back at temperatures in the Gulf of Maine, primarily between the years 1976 and 2005, an average change in temperature can be recorded and is predicted to increase by 1.1° C to 2.4° C by the year 2050. Since many of these are species that are often preyed upon by sharks in the area, it is expected that shark populations migration patterns, and feeding habits will be affected.