NEWPORT, Ore. - Oregon State University marine educator Bill Hanshumaker will conduct side-by-side necropsies of two sharks commonly found in the northeast Pacific Ocean this Saturday, Jan. 9, at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.
The dissections, which are part of Hatfield's annual Shark Day, will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Visitor Center. The public is invited.
The sharks were bycatch from the hake industry and secured by the NOAA Observer Program, then donated to OSU. Hanshumaker, an Oregon Sea Grant outreach specialist, will conduct a comparative dissection of the two sharks, analyzing similarities and differences in their nervous, reproductive and digestive systems.
The Pacific sleeper shark is a rather mysterious animal that lives in moderately to very deep water. In fact, sleeper sharks have been observed or filmed by submersibles at 4,000 feet off Japan, and at 6,300 feet off Hawaii. The shark has a large stomach in which it can store large quantities of food to survive times of prey scarcity in the deep Pacific Ocean. It feeds on a variety of bottom-dwelling and swimming fishes, as well as octopus, shrimp, hermit crabs, and even marine mammals.
Blue sharks are found in very deep waters and prefer cooler regions, so they are frequently found in sub-tropical areas like the West Coast. Considered dangerous to divers, blue sharks are fast swimmers known to leap out of the water to see what kinds of food may be on the surface. They can range for thousands of miles, for food or to mate, and have an appetite for squid, fish, mollusks, small sharks and seabirds.
The public also is invited to see the center's shark jaw collection, as well as continuous showings in the Hennings Auditorium of shark videos from around the world. Numerous other displays will be open.
Winter hours for the Hatfield Marine Science Center are Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is by donation.
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Bill Hanshumaker, 541-867-0167, Bill.Hanshumaker@oregonstate.edu