Shark Encounters!

It seems like every time that I encounter news about sharks, they end up seeming less scary and more awe inspiring.

The latest example of this happened this week when multiple news outlets reported that the great white shark’s genome has been sequenced, and there were some surprises as well as some good news for humans. It looks like studying the great white shark’s DNA might help us live longer, heal better and fight cancer! Here is a short news segment along with the articles and press releases that are referenced in them.

Great White Shark Super Powers Revealed By Genome (Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes)
Study reveals that understanding shark immunity genes could benefit human medical treatment (Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Center)
Great white shark genome decoded (Nova Southeastern University, AAAS EurekAlert)
White shark genome reveals ancient elasmobranch adaptations associated with wound healing and the maintenance of genome stability (Nicholas J. Marra el al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

As if the shark’s genome isn’t enough to inspire some serious respect, during my research I also came across a segment from Jonathan Bird’s Shark Academy that explains how they have some neat senses that we don’t. One of them is electroreception, and it’s part of what makes sharks such excellent hunters and navigators.

Finally, there’s those eyes. The thought of looking straight into them may be terrifying, but they are actually kind of interesting, too.

The above videos took you up close and personal with great whites, but there’s nothing like “being there,” right?

So here’s an educational 360° virtual encounter with a great white shark from Curiscope.

Here’s a 360° virtual encounter from AirPano.

AirPano’s virtual encounter played up the intimidation factor a bit, but then it ended on noting that there are places where you can go dive with great whites yourself.

Indeed, there are such places!

I’m not fascinated or brave enough to do such a thing, but if you happen to be a diver who is inspired enough to go beyond virtual encounters to the real thing, here’s a video from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and some links to get you started.

10 Best Places to Swim With Sharks (Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Condé Nast Traveler)
25 Best Destinations for Sharks and Adventure (Travis Marshall, Scuba Diving)
Shark Diving Tips and Advice (Shart Trust)
10 Shark Diving Tips (Dive Magazine)

Find out more about sharks