Due to global warming, our planet's water temperatures and acidity levels are rising. Researchers originally predicted that sharks would prefer hunting in these waters. They burn more calories and metabolize less efficiently meaning they are hungrier and are under more pressure to find food.
However, according to new research, sharks will have a more difficult time hunting for food in warmer and more acidic waters. Scientists from the University of Adelaide put Port Jackson sharks into large tanks and increased the temperature and acidity levels. This is to simulate future water conditions these sharks will live in. They then put dead prey into sand trays and timed how long it took them to sniff out and find the food.
Results showed that the sharks took four times as long to find the food. This suggests that even though the sharks are hungrier in warmer waters, the higher acidity levels affect the shark’s sense of smell. They will find it more difficult to find food in the wild. This will leave them feeling hungrier but actually eating less food.
Sharks rely heavily on their sense of smell to find prey, however due to climate change and the rising pH levels, sharks will find it more difficult to smell their prey. They will struggle to find food and will be hungrier in the warmer and more acidic waters. Hopefully, they will evolve and adapt to the changing climate so you can still see them in the wild and not just in the aquarium!