Topics in Shark Biology: Physiology

Albinism in Sharks - in which shark species has albinism been recorded and why is it so rare in sharks?

Biological Batteries - How electric fishes generate their shocks and why they so so

Cold Fire in the Sea - How bioluminescent marine animals generate light and the uses to which certain sharks and others put this 'cold fire'

Fire in the Belly of the Beast - How the White Shark and some of its relatives elevate their temperatures, as well as the costs and benefits of doing so

More on Warm-Bodied Sharks - What's the difference between 'warm-bodied' and 'warm-blooded'? Can a warm-bodied shark overheat?

Putting the Bite on Cancer - the immune system of sharks and how they fight tumors

Wound Healing in Sharks - Even after receiving nasty injuries, sharks heal amazingly quickly. How do they do it?

Why do Most Sharks Live in Salt Water? - There's a very good reason, but it doesn't mean that a few sharks haven't figured out a physiological loop-hole.

The Importance of Being Cartilaginous - What is the evolutionary advantage of having a cartilaginous skeleton?

Without Bones, How Do Sharks Make Red Blood Cells? - Red blood cells, which transport oxygen in the body of all vertebrates, are typically manufactured in the red marrow of long bones.  But sharks have no bones at all.  How do they make these vital cells?

Thar She Blows! - Describes two types of (!) inflatable sharks

The Swimming See-Saw - A critical examination of shark hydrodynamics

Does Liver Size Limit Shark Body Size? - And, if it does, can we use this to predict a shark's maximum size?

Electric Rays: a Shocking Use of Muscle Power - A brief report on the uses to which electric rays put their bioelectricity

Lovely Day for a Walk - Imagine a sharks that swims so poorly, that if you frighten it, it will walk away rather than swim!

Diversity of Feeding Mechanisms in Sharks - how did sharks evolve their amazing diversity of feeding mechanism from a single ancestral archetype?

Attacked by a Dogfish - One of R. Aidan Martin's most unusual and informative experiences

How Fast Can a Shark Swim? - And, just as importantly, how do we know?

Sea Monsters: Two Cases of Mistaken Identity - Basking Sharks have an unfortunate tendency to be mistaken for 'sea monsters', one imaginary the other very real

Freshwater Sharks and Rays - A look at those few elasmobranchs that can withstand the physiological stresses of inhabiting fresh water, including one family that can no longer tolerate salt water

Shark Cartilage Quackery - In recent years, shark cartilage has been sold as a cure for a wide variety of human ailments, from arthritis to cancer.  What's the truth behind such claims?


ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
Text and illustrations R. Aidan Martin
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