A few weeks after dozens of dead bull sharks were found tangled in a gill net near Dauphin Island Parkway, scientists at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab are learning a lot from them.
Shark expert Dr. Marcus Drymon and his team collected 57 discarded carcasses and say the sharks were only a few weeks old because the umbilical cord attachment was still visible on their stomachs.
Drymon says that with the sharks being so young, it gives them enough evidence to believe Mobile Bay is most likely a primary nursery for the species, but they’re still trying to figure out when the females are swimming into the bay.
Drymon says that while the situation is unfortunate, it gives his team the unique opportunity to study the bull shark more in depth than their traditional tagging methods.
“We made the best possible use of these dead sharks by removing muscle for analysis of feeding ecology and contamination; vertebrae for age and growth and other applications; and finclips for population genetics studies,” Dr. Drymon explained.
Dr. Drymon and his team are working now to analyze the samples taken from the sharks.