MAR 12, 2018 4:56 AM PDT

Even This 'Untouched' Habitat Exhibits Human-Driven Shark Population Declines

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Despite just how many people walk the Earth today, some parts of the world are still thought to be ‘untouched’ by human activity. The Chagos archipelago, a group of islands residing in the Indian Ocean, is an adequate example of this.

Researchers noticed fewer sharks in the Chagos archipelago than they originally expected.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Given just how far the Chagos archipelago is from densely-populated continents, researchers expected to witness pristine shark populations there. Sadly, they found just the opposite when they traveled there to investigate. The findings are published in the journal Science Advances.

Fortunately, conservationists have monitored shark populations in the Chagos archipelago for decades. The researchers leveraged a bevy of this existing information throughout their study to discern how shark populations there changed over the years.

Related: Florida man faces charges after punching a hammerhead shark to death

They dug into records dating as far back as 1948 and found that shark populations in the Chagos archipelago are diminishing far below recognized baselines despite longstanding beliefs that these so-called “pristine” environments wouldn’t exhibit symptoms of human interaction.

In particular, the researchers found that local grey reef shark populations were up to 20% lower than expected. Furthermore, local silvertip shark populations were up to 93% lower than expected. These figures were generated from computer-based algorithms and compared with known catch data to see how it aligned.

It’s tough to say for sure what caused these shark declines, but the researchers seem confident that overfishing has something to do with it. Many catches are never legitimately reported and slip under the radar, which doesn’t do conservation efforts any justice.

Perhaps the most significant moral to be learned from the study is that even environments seldom visited by humans can exhibit long-lasting effects from our existence. It’s sad but true.

Source: Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 15, 2020
Two of Kenya's Rare All-White Giraffes Killed by Poachers
Giraffes are highly discernable animals in the wild, not only because of their eccentrically long necks, but also becaus ...
APR 08, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 08, 2020
The Great Barrier Reef is Bleaching Again
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is going through another bleaching event; it's third in five years. The ARC Centr ...
APR 16, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 16, 2020
Are monarch butterflies stressed out?
Perhaps in your life you have participated in a project involving monarch butterflies. I can still remember being surpri ...
APR 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
APR 28, 2020
Carbon-Dating Ancient Pottery Just Got Easier
Carbon-dating Pottery Kitchenware Just Got Easier Pottery, especially vessels that our ancestors used to eat and drink w ...
APR 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 28, 2020
Young Orangutans Must Learn a Lot Before Adulthood
Orangutans watch over their children for longer periods than any other primate besides humans. On average, most organs t ...
MAY 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 19, 2020
Seabirds Often Deal with Thieves When Scouting for Food
In the bird world, parental units will often split responsibilities. One typically stays behind at the nest to protect t ...
Loading Comments...