Troubling global declines in shark populations have scientists exploring different ways to manage and protect them. To protect sharks more effectively, we need to gain an adequate understanding of their life histories. What sharks are feeding on – and where they’re feeding – can help scientists to decipher how food webs are constructed and how ecosystems are interconnected. Ultimately, understanding where sharks are feeding may identify areas that are important to them and guide policies to better protect them.
New research by Christopher Bird from the University of Southampton and his co-authors, published in 2018 in Nature Ecology & Evolution, investigates the feeding habits of sharks around the world. The scientists compared carbon isotopes from the muscle tissue in sharks from three different oceanic habitats: the continental shelf, the open ocean and the deep sea.