Baby sharks are being born smaller and undernourished as climate change warms the world’s oceans, a new research shows.
Researchers found that in warmer waters, shark embryos grew faster and used their yolk sac, which is their only source of food during this developmental stage, quicker.
This resulted to the sharks hatching earlier. They were born smaller, lacked energy, and needed to be fed immediately.
Researchers from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and the University of Massachusetts examined the effects of warming temperatures on the growth and development of the sharks along the Great Barrier Reef.
“The epaulette shark is known for its resilience to change, even to ocean acidification,” Jodie Rummer, co-author and associate professor at the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said in a statement. “So, if this species can’t cope with warming waters, then how will other, less tolerant species fare?”
Some shake species, like the epaulette sharks, are among those that are left unprotected and must be able to survive on their own.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef, and is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 411 species of hard corals and dozens of other species.
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