Bull sharks

With its wide-open, shallow waters and pristine views, North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound is a haven for people who love the shore. But humans are not the only ones enjoying this part of the Outer Banks.

As the world warms and water temperatures rise, bull sharks are starting to use Pamlico Sound as a nursery.

Bangley: “Rather than just kind of wandering in, chasing schools of fish, or foraging in the sound, it now seems that they’re actually reproducing inside the Sound as well.”

Charles Bangley of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center says that as a result, young sharks are seen much more often than they were before.

Bangley: “They went from being extremely rare in the system as juveniles to being something that in certain parts of Pamlico Sound, you can almost dependably run into.”

That might sound menacing, but Bangley says the young sharks are unlikely to pose a risk to humans.

Bangley: “The only negative interaction you might have with them is they might bite a fish that you’re fighting off your hook or something while you’re out there fishing. Plus, it’s kind of neat to be out there and just see a little baby shark swimming along. At this size, they’re actually pretty cute.”

But these juvenile sharks could out-compete other species for food. So cute or not, they symbolize the danger that warming water poses to ocean ecosystems.

Reporting credit: Anna Moritz/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

Topics: Species & Ecosystems