Baby sharks will find it difficult to survive on the Great Barrier Reef by the end of the century, scientists say, with climate change and warmer oceans leading to the creatures being born smaller, exhausted and undernourished. Key points: The study looked at the growth of epaulette shark hatchlings in controlled settings simulating future ocean temperatures It found sharks were born smaller and lacking the energy needed for their first days of life Researchers are concerned about shark species not as strong and adaptable as the epaulette shark A new study by James Cook University’s (JCU) ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies focused on epaulette sharks, an egg-laying shark found only on the Great Barrier Reef. Study co-author Jodie Rummer said the epaulette shark was a species that was “really tolerant” to challenging and changing conditions, including ocean acidification. “Warmer temperatures are really having a negative effect on at least the early development of this particular shark species.” Dr Rummer and the JCU team, including lead author and PhD candidate Carolyn Wheeler, studied the shark eggs and hatchlings in controlled environments, simulating current reef temperatures and predictions for the middle and the end of the century. She said… Read full this story
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