The Beacon

Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.

Photos: Meet the Biggest Shark Species Swimming in the Oceans

Great white sharks are the third largest shark species

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). (Photo: Oceana)

Do you think you can name the largest shark species swimming in our oceans? Great white sharks probably come to mind first, but it turns out that those behemoths aren’t actually the largest out of the hundreds of existing shark species.

These cartilaginous fish have been navigating the world’s oceans for roughly 450 million years—even before the dinosaurs—so they’re naturally worthy of celebrating. 

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Infographic: Here’s Why Dusky Sharks Need to Get off the Hook

Dusky shark populations have declined by 99 percent

A dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus). (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

Dusky sharks, a bronze-blue colored species found in warm coastal and open ocean waters, are in trouble. Populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico have plummeted by 99 percent over the past 40 years as a result of overfishing and bycatch — the capture of non-target fish and ocean wildlife.

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Online “Tree of Life” is Your Ultimate Guide to Sharks, Rays, and Skates

There are over 350 shark species that exist

A Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis). (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo Sorensen)

When you think of Shark Week, the chances are that you're picturing a great white or a hammerhead shark. Or, if you’re thinking about the ancient oceans, you’re likely picturing the Megalodon thanks to Shark Week. But the handful of celebrity shark species that get the most attention this week don't even begin to cover the incredible range of shark and ray species out there.

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Dusky’s Big Adventure, Day 3: Dusky Learns What Can be Done to Save His Friends

Dusky the Shark learns what can be done to save dusky sharks

Dusky the Shark learns what can be done to save his friends. (Photo: Oceana)

This is the third post in a five-part blog series that features Dusky the Shark. This week, Dusky will appear in a comic strip that explains why dusky sharks in the northwestern Atlantic are at risk, and what actions he and Oceana are taking to protect his species.

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Photos: Introducing Deep-Sea Sharks, Some of the Wildest Looking Fish in the Oceans

Deep sea sharks have special adaptations

Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus). (Photo: © Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Did you know that over 350 shark species exist? Despite that massive number, most of the cartilaginous fish that get our attention are often the ones that frequent coastlines or are the most charismatic, like great white sharks and whale sharks.

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Arctic Oil and Gas Lease Sale Moves Forward Despite Waning Interest from Industry Groups

Polar bears would be affected by Arctic drilling

Polar bears and other majestic marine mammals could be greatly affected by an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. Click here to join Oceana in asking the Obama Administration to take the Arctic Ocean off the table for the 2017-2022 OCS Lease Sale program. (Photo: Alan D. Wilson [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s no question that drilling for oil in Arctic waters is risky business. Twenty five years after the Exxon Valdez tanker hit a reef in 1989, causing the second largest oil spill in U.S. history, wildlife and economies in Alaska’s Prince William Sound are still recovering. And in 2012, as part of an attempt at offshore oil exploration activity in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Shell’s Kulluk oil drilling rig ran aground near Kodiak Island.

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Poll: What’s Your Favorite Shark Species?

Favorite shark species

Caribbean Reef Shark (Carcharhinus perezi). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez)

In honor of Discovery’s Shark Week, The Beacon will be celebrating the wonders of sharks through Friday. With over 350 shark species, the class Chondrichthyes is full of biodiversity, from sawfish to manta rays and famous great white sharks.

This week, we’re asking our readers to weigh in your favorite shark species. You have until Thursday, August 14 at 11:59 p.m. to pick one of the shark species below (take a look beneath the poll for a glimpse of each species), and whichever shark gets the most votes will be featured on The Beacon on Friday with a full species bio.

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Photos: Dusky the Shark Makes His First Appearance at Shark Week’s FinFest

Dusky the Shark appears at Discovery's FinFest

Dusky dancing at the FinFest concert. (Photo: Chris Panagakis)

This weekend, Dusky the Shark made his first-ever appearance at Discovery Channel’s FinFest in Hermosa Beach, California, a two-day event that kicked off Shark Week. Dusky made quite the splash at FinFest and stayed busy educating the public about his species.

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Dusky’s Big Adventure, Day 2: Dusky Learns Why His Population is Declining

Oceana helps dusky the shark

Dusky the Shark learns why his population is declining. (Photo: Oceana)

This is the second in a five-part blog series that features Dusky the Shark. Over the next few days, Dusky will appear in a comic strip that explains why dusky sharks in the northwestern Atlantic are at risk, and what actions he and Oceana are taking to protect his species. Check The Beacon again tomorrow for the next installment of Dusky’s Big Adventure, and click here to see Monday’s installment of Dusky’s Big Adventure.

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Hammerheads under Siege: Human Pressure Threatening an Iconic Species

Scalloped hammerheads received protected under the ESA

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini). (Photo: Oceana / Rob Stewart)

Sharks have existed for roughly 450 million years—even before the dinosaurs. But, the very adaptations that have allowed sharks to survive for so many millions of years may now be working against them in the face of a relatively new threat: fishing. Under modern fishing pressure, are certain sharks “evolved for extinction”?

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