North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Life on the Edge: Exploring Deep Ocean Habitats - NC Museum of Natural Sciences Website
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Questions & Answers

06/20/04

Q: Have you seen any bottle-nose dolphins? Have you seen any big sharks?

dolphins play in the ship's bow waveA: We saw a few dolphins, which were most likely bottle-nose dolphins, as we left port in Ft. Pierce, Florida. Other than that, we have not seen any out in the open ocean.

We have seen several sharks during the dives, the largest of which is the bignose shark. These sharks are typically found near the continental shelf and can grow to approximately 10 feet (3 m) in length! The biggest one we have seen was probably around 8 or 9 feet (2.4 or 2.7 m) long.

chain dogfish, photo courtesy of NOAA
Chain Dogfish
Photo courtesy of NOAA

We have also seen two different kinds of catsharks - chain dogfish and Meads catshark. These sharks are much smaller, our data show them averaging about 3 feet (1 m) long. The last group of sharks belongs to the squalid shark family and includes roughskin dogfish and deepwater dogfish.

On our 2002 Multimedia Gallery, you will find a video of a shark swimming deep in the ocean at 1390.8 feet (423.9 m) down.

We still have a few more days left on this mission and we hope to see some more dolphins riding the bow wave!


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