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The salmon shark is the warmest of the warm-bodied sharks (partially endothermic) and is able to maintain its body temperature 14.5-20°F (8-11°C) above ambient sea water. During the HMSC Visitor Center's "Shark Day", Dr. Bill Hanshumaker dissected a seven foot salmon shark that was obtained last summer as a by-catch from the hake trawling industry. He removed vertebrae and tissue samples for ageing and parasite studies, and tissue from the animal's snout for later microscopic investigation to assay mitochondrial concentration.
Salmon sharks are commonly found off the Oregon coast, but much remains unknown about these large, fast predators. Each year, young salmon sharks are found washed up dead or dying along Oregon beaches. However, the reason for these strandings is unknown. We will discuss current research on salmon sharks, possible reasons for the strandings, and dissect a specimen that was found washed up on a local beach. Students are introduced to the biology of salmon sharks and familiarize themselves with the external and internal anatomy of a shark. Wade Smith, a PhD student in marine fish ecology with the OSU Fisheries and Wildlife, conducted the dissection. His current research is focused on sharks and rays.
(These live science education presentations are brought to you by the Oregon Sea Grant marine education program at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. Browse our Education Programs menu to find out about the other educational programs and opportunities we offer for k-12 students, teachers, and families.)