The secret world of school sharks

Jasmin Martino and I recently returned from two weeks at sea, mostly on the edge of the continental shelf south of Kangaroo Island. Our objective was to tag pregnant school sharks, a Conservation Dependent species, to track them to (and discover) where they go to have their babies. We caught many sharks including gummies, sawsharks, wobbegongs, seven gills, and threshers as we moved from east to west off the south coast, however only a handful of schoolies were caught and none of them pregnant. Persistence paid off and eventually we found what we were looking for at Southwest Canyon, SW of KI. Our first pregnant female, Khaleesi, was brought aboard and given an ultrasound, which revealed she was in late pregnancy with many large pups. She was tagged and released with a satellite tag that will detach after four months (after the pupping season) and transmit data on her movements. Another four pregnant females - Lucy, Marjorie, Nadia and Orthelia - were tagged and released bringing a successful field trip to a close. All tags are still deployed and functioning correctly… we look forward to our mama sharks showing us the secret location of their pupping grounds!

Below left is Khaleesi. The right hand images show the ultrasound from Khaleesi where you can clearly see the pup inside her.