North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Life on the Edge: Exploring Deep Ocean Habitats - NC Museum of Natural Sciences Website
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2005 Questions & Answers


Bud, a sixth grader from Alaska, wonders if any sharks live on the bottom of the ocean.
Throughout the world's seas, many species of sharks live in different parts of the water column, with different degrees of vertical migration. Bonnet heads live close to the seabed in coastal waters. Makos, the fastest of all sharks, can be found from the surface to the ocean depths. Saw sharks are always found on the bottom of the sea in shallow or deep waters. Six-gill sharks are found near the bottom of the sea. All species of catsharks inhabit the bottom of the deepest seas. These are commonly seen by researchers in the Johnson Sea Link. The diminutive cookiecutter shark, at only 50 cm (20 in) long, travels from the sea bottom to the surface to feed. The odd looking goblin and lantern sharks also live at and near the bottom of the oceans. Chain dogfish, another type of shark, has been collected from the ocean floor on this mission, and big nosed sharks have been seen as well.

Wendell, a sixth grader from Alaska, wants to know how big is the biggest shark species.
Reaching lengths of 12.65 meters (41.5 feet), and weighing around 20 tons, a whale shark caught and scientifically measured off the coast of Pakistan in 1949 was the largest reported shark specimen in the world. Whale shark lengths of over 18 m (59 ft) and weights of over 44 tons have been reported worldwide. It is unlikely that we will see any of these enormous plankton eating fish, as they inhabit only the tropical waters of our planet.

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