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(NASA) – Lengthy earlier than NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle grew to become the house for launching humanity’s future, the waters surrounding the Florida spaceport housed certainly one of Earth’s prime apex predators.
It’s common for individuals who usually boat, fish, or swim in close by lagoons and seashores to identify sharks residing their greatest lives alongside the rockets sending astronauts into house.
Though in style tradition typically portrays sharks as a menace to people, the precise hazard could be very restricted. In reality, sharks play an vital function within the ecosystem. Their meals searching helps regulate prey populations, benefitting marine variety and habitats akin to coral reefs and seagrass.
All through the month of July, cable channels air a variety of “Shark Week” programming to thrill their viewers.
In honor of this heightened curiosity in our high quality finned pals, listed below are some enjoyable details about these fascinating fish who make their properties within the waters of the Area Coast.
1. Eighteen completely different shark varieties have been documented close to Kennedy.
➜ Amongst them are: Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, blacktip, bonnethead, bull, dusky, finetooth, nice white, hammerhead (nice, scalloped and easy), lemon, nurse, sandbar, sand tiger, spinner, thresher, and tiger.
➜ The commonest within the lagoons close to Kennedy is the juvenile bull. Researchers have noticed extra bull sharks not too long ago than ever within the space, primarily as a result of the Area Coast serves as a preferred spot for females to offer beginning and as a nursery habitat for his or her younger.
2. Marine biologists working for NASA usually monitor the waters in and round Kennedy.
➜ In addition to making certain that NASA stays compliant with endangered species and marine fishery rules, these biologists assist the company reduce the affect of the U.S. house program on native wildlife and habitat. They’re additionally important to certainly one of Kennedy’s primary objectives: making a tradition of conservation. Their work helps NASA’s companions on the Merritt Island Nationwide Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral Nationwide Seashore correctly handle the native marine inhabitants, making certain the survival of sharks and endangered species akin to sea turtles.
3. Acoustic telemetry and unmanned gliders assist observe the sharks in and round Kennedy.
➜ Kennedy researchers routinely tag sharks with individually distinctive sound transmitters and set them free. As every shark strikes, biologists acquire knowledge on their actions from underwater receivers, giving insights on how they dwell and the place they go. The researchers use related strategies to review different marine life on heart and close by.
➜ Powered by the solar and waves, unmanned ocean gliders lengthen the vary of surveyed areas, transmitting knowledge again by way of satellite tv for pc. The gliders will be piloted remotely by pc and have custom-made gear that may be altered primarily based on the mission.
4. The commonest kinds of sharks discovered off of Kennedy’s seashores are Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, blacktip, finetooth and lemon.
➜ That’s in keeping with a not too long ago printed analysis paper from Kennedy’s marine biologists. The five-year research of shark populations close to offshore sand shoals – funded by NASA and the USA Bureau of Ocean Power Administration – additionally confirmed that sharks within the space are extremely cellular and vulnerable to seasonal migration. That features the juvenile lemon, which can also be recognized for hanging out in Brevard’s surf in giant numbers throughout the winter.
5. Though it’s on the rise within the southeastern United States, the shark inhabitants is in decline in lots of different elements of the world.
➜ Sharks on Earth are doing poorly for a wide range of causes, together with being fished in numbers which are unsustainable for his or her survival. Correct understanding and administration close to Kennedy are serving to improve the numbers of most shark species within the space, benefiting the native ecosystem.
6. It’s uncommon for people to get bitten by sharks, even in areas the place shark bites are most typical.
➜ In line with the Florida Museum of Pure Historical past’s Worldwide Shark Assault File (ISAF), 57 unprovoked shark bites have been reported worldwide in 2022, 16 fewer than the 12 months prior. The USA logged 41 of these, together with 16 in Florida and just one in Brevard County, the place Kennedy is positioned.
➜ ISAF knowledge reveals 156 confirmed shark bites in Brevard since 1882, greater than another Florida county besides Volusia (343). That averages to only over one shark chunk reported yearly.
7. It’s even rarer for people to die from shark bites.
➜ There are 10 confirmed shark chunk deaths in Florida because the 1900s and none since 2010, per ISAF. Brevard’s solely confirmed shark chunk fatality was in 1934.
➜ ISAF knowledge additionally reveals the chance of a shark-related fatality as lower than 1 in 4 million. The common human is more likely to die from fireworks, practice crashes, lightning, solar/warmth publicity, extreme chilly, or a motorcycle accident than a shark chunk.