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When we think of sharks, the myth of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) usually comes to mind. This is not only our favourite object of fear fascination but also an integral part of many marine food webs. Already functionally extinct in some regions of the world, they are classified as "Endangered" by the IUCN worldwide [4].

Thanks to our fascination, much is known about this shark species, including its natural territories and migration routes. Researchers are currently observing a worrying trend off the coast of California. Juveniles are being sighted further and further north; a significant shift in their range within a few years. This spread away from the equatorial regions is due to the young sharks' search for suitable thermal habitats [5]. Rising water temperatures in their original territories force them to move further north to stay within their preferred temperature range.

This northward shift has three consequences:

  1. Their lack of regulatory function changes the community structure in their original territory
  2. in their new territory they face inferior prey that are not adapted to such an apex hunter and
  3. they increasingly come into contact with humans in the coastal and heavily populated regions of northern California. Encounters between sharks and humans are often fatal - for the sharks, not for us humans.

In just under three months, the period for supporting the EU citizens' initiative "Stop Finning - Stop the Trade" will end. We can't do it without you - your voice for shark protection ->

Sources findest du hier.

Text Sarah Russwurm

Great White Shark, Sharkproject (c) Maria Paternoga

Great White Shark, Sharkproject (c) Maria Paternoga


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