By: ASHLEY HOPKINS
Since the discovery of sharks living in volcanoes in 2015, scientists have been studying the subject heavily. In August of this year, scientists dropped a camera into the main crater of the Kavachi volcano, located in the Solomon Islands to take a closer look at the creatures. Scientists left the camera underwater for an hour and discovered 2 types of sharky: Silky sharks and Hammerhead sharks. Scientists were surprised by this discovery because the acidity and heat of the water make unwelcoming conditions for marine life. Jellyfish and stingrays were also found in the crater.
“Most of the open ocean is a place without a ton of food…In the open ocean it’s volcanoes that have created most of the land out there. So, at the base level many sharks depend on volcanoes in ways most people wouldn’t think about. If there hadn’t been volcanoes in certain areas there would be no reefs or no land. That would mean that the species of sharks that need those habitats couldn’t live in those areas without the presence of a volcano,” said Michael Heithaus, shark scientist from the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University. According to Heithaus, the warm water in and around the volcanos provides a good location for the sharks nurseries. The water inside the volcanoes is about 50° F warmer than the normal ocean water.
The Kavachi volcano isn’t the only volcano with this natural phenomenon occurring inside of it. According to the Paula Froelich from the NY times, “There are actually several sharkcanos – off the coast of Réunion, in the Indian Ocean, Heithaus finds bull sharks taking advantage of the turbulent water, using it as a way of ambushing prey, as well as one near Guadalupe Island, off of the west coast of Mexico.” It appears that this trend of hot and acidic habitats aren’t as rare as one would think.
National Geographic’s documentary on this crazy occurrence and other unknown interesting aspects of sharks and marine life can be seen on Hulu or on the National Geographic website.