Shark Podcasts

The weekly podcasts deal with an array of questions revolving around sharks. A critical look is given from the viewpoint of an experimental shark behaviorist, conservationist, and professional educator to all aspects around them.

Episode 60: What is "claim response?"

Although rare, it can happen that a shark fights over the victim with a rescuer. During such a scenario the victim is part of an actual tug o' war scenario where it  is simultaneously pulled in two direction: towards the rescuer and towards the shark. In most cases a "claim response" incident is fatal.


Episode 59: "Pattern compensation" - a bite motivation too long ignored

Despite the common motivations for a shark to bite, there is another motivation that always includes at least a second bite, as well as a minimum of two different body areas. A shark commonly bites due to exploration, stress, competition or provocation. Most often that's that and the shark refrains from biting a second time but on rare occasion the person kicks or hits the shark right after the first bite or even during it and the animal "compensates" with another bite, in this case with a defensive bite.


Episode 58: Why not just call it Mokarran?

Using the term "great" hammerhead implies that there is also a "lesser" hammerhead. Of course there is no such trivial name thus we should avoid adjectives like "great," "small" etc. when creating a trivial name since that implies that the opposite must be there as well. The scientific term for the "great hammerhead" is Spyrna mokarran thus it seems simple (or logical) to switch from "great hammerhead" to a more unique trivial name like "Mokarran." This species is considered dangerous which can't be supported through the different data bases as e.g., Likewise, other attributes are not true as well.


Episode 57: "Silver bullets" among us divers

They are the fastest swimming sharks: makos. Everything about them deserves the label "superlative." This does not just refer to their speed–and our nickname for them–but also to their hunting strategies, or particular anatomical features. Beside being one of the top species in commercial high sea fisheries, the knowledge about their behavior around humans is pretty much unknown.


Episode 56: There is a lot of bull when it comes to bulls

One of the most intriguing shark species is the bull shark. But as famous or infamous this species is, as prominent are all the erroneous information surrounding these animals. They are called the most aggressive species, the most dangerous species, the species with the highest testosterone level... Although bull sharks are a superlative species, they are by far not how the general public sees them.


Episode 55: There is no such thing as a garbage eater

Tiger sharks have a bad rep. They are called trash eaters, garbage eaters and other less flattering names, they considered of low intelligence, have a bite first–check out later mentality and on, and on. Nothing of that is true. Tiger sharks are not what the general public makes them out to be. The only reason why this wrongful image still lingers on TV and in the books is because no one really wants to hang out with them, study them, and be willing to swim the extra mile with them.


Episode 54: On the USS Indianapolis disaster and the likely involvement of sharks

A lot has been written about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis on July 30, 1945 and its aftermath when it comes to sharks. Many of the sailors who went overboard and floated for days on the open ocean seemed to have been killed by these animals. Although reports of survivors mentioned the involvement of sharks, their likely role in causing deaths among the sailors is exaggerated. Some ideas are given what role these animals more likely played during these horrific days at sea.


Episode 53: Rescuing a shark victim while exposed to the worst case scenario.

Every lifeguard asked himself / herself: what to do when a person gets bitten by a large (white) shark, the visibility is very low, the shark remains close to the victim, and it is up to you to swim out there and get the victim. Although those scenarios are rather rare, they happened in the past, and not always with the best outcome. Here I talk about the “how to…” and why this procedure is to be preferred over any other one, and how to familiarize yourself with it, even without you (!) having tested it with and among sharks.


Episode 52: What is needed beside shark sanctuaries?

Although shark sanctuaries start to pop up all over the world, their number is still too few and they only cover about 3% of our oceans' surface. But even if many more are created down the road, what happens when the sharks leave these catch-free heavens? Controllers are needed that follow these fishing fleets and have the authority to interfere should a targeted population originate from one of the sanctuaries. But then what...

Episode 51: Do sharks have a conscious mind?

One of the more controversial issues when it comes to an animal's mind is its likelihood of having a conscious mind, or not. Would we follow the rather narrow definition what a conscious mind must entail or be capable of, most animal species would fall short, so would the sharks. But does that mean because they fail the ultimate test, they are just not conscious and that's that, or is there more to it? This podcast sheds some lights how to look at sharks, and rethink the use of the definition for consciousness.