Research 2: Thermal physiology and activity of a homeothermic shark

The vast majority of fishes are ectothermic with body temperatures that approximate ambient water temperature.  Notable exceptions include some of the lamnid sharks and tunas.  One of the most impressive examples of homeothermy is found in the salmon shark (Lamna ditropis) which is capable of maintaining body temperatures up to 21°C above ambient.  Maintaining elevated body temperatures may provide many advantages including an expanded geographical range, and increased swimming speeds and/or rates of digestion.  We are using multi-sensor data-loggers to look at the relationship between body temperature and swim speed/activity of salmon sharks in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Collaborators: Dr Ken Goldman (Alaska Fish and Game), Dr Yuuki Watanabe (Polar Research Institute)


Watanabe Y, Goldman K, Caselle J, Chapman D, Papastamatiou Y. 2015. Comparative analyses of animal-tracking data reveal ecological significance of endothermy in fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112: 6104-6109

Prince William Sound, Alaska, where salmon sharks aggregate seasonally. Photo: Y. Papastamatiou