Shark Diving Protocol

Shark Human Interaction


Shark Habits

Shark Physiology


A. Skeleton:

The skeleton of sharks is made of cartilage. This cartilage may proof important in cancer research because an agent they found in the cartilage inhibits tumor growth. This was suspected when they found out that sharks does not get cancer so easily.

The sharks cranium is a single cartiligous block which encloses the brain, olfactory system and auditory capsules. The jaws are loosely attached to the cranium.


This is a shark skeleton. It has no ribs since its weight is supported by the water.

B. Muscles:

There are two types of muscle cells: red muscles for slow muscle action like cruising, and white muscles for fast, sudden bursts of speed.

C. Digestive Tract:

The shark short and wide esophagus ending in u-shaped stomach. In may species this leads to a spiral valve which is twited and turned to increas absorption area. After the valve the digestive tract leads to the rectum and the cloaca. The cloaca is a common opening for the urinary, digestive and reproductive system.

D. Circulatory System:

A shark has a two-chambered s-shaped heart and the blood flows from the heart to the gills and then to the rest of the body. Fast swimming sharks have body temperature slightly higher than the surrounding water. This is due to increased muscle activity. Sharks also have low blood pressure and to maintain blood flow the shark must move its muscles to circulate the blood.

E.Gill slits:

Water enters the gill chambers through the mouth or spiricles in order for the shark to breathe. Previously it was thought that sharks had to move to keep breathing, but know we know that they can pump water over their gills by opening and closing their mouth. Due to low blood pressure the sharks rely on muscular movement to circulate their blood. Blood in the gill filaments absorb oxygen from the water and water then exits through the gill slits.

Shark Gills

F. Liver:

A sharks liver may weigh 5% to 25% of its total body weight. This is due to storing oils and fatty acids for energy as well as for buoyancy.

G. Stomach:

Sharks are cold blooded and thus have a lower matabolism than warm blooded animals. This gives it the advantage of having to eat less than similarly sized mammals. A shark eats 1% to 10% of its body weight per week and some sharks go for several weeks without food.

H. Nostrils:

Sharks have paired nostrils with an incurrent and an excurrent opening leading to olfactory organs. These organs can detect tiny traces of chemical substances up to one part per billion. Some sharks have sensory projections, called barbels, extending from near the nostrils.

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All information from the Buschgardens institute

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