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Articles on Sharks

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Sharks and rays have ruled the ocean for 420 million years, but that reign may be slipping. (Mark Erdmann)

Sharks and rays are in free fall: More than one-third are threatened with extinction from overfishing

Nearly all species of sharks and rays are captured in fishing operations. But research shows that fishing quotas and closing some areas to fishing can help rebuild threatened populations.
A painting for the U.S. Army’s Stars and Stripes newspaper shows a downed pilot fending off sharks with a knife. Ed Vebell/Getty Images

Before Shark Week and ‘Jaws,’ World War II spawned America’s shark obsession

As part of the nation’s massive wartime mobilization effort, millions of Americans, for the first time, traveled abroad – where many had their first encounters with the marine predators.
Blue sharks, which are prized for their fins, swimming off Cape Point in South Africa. Morne Hardenberg

South Africa’s plan to protect sharks needs an urgent update

Sharks grow slowly and produce few young compared to bony fishes. In many cases, this means that their populations are fished out faster than can be replenished if not well managed.
Female elephant seals take seven-month feeding trips during which they balance danger, starvation and exhaustion. Dan Costa

Risk versus reward on the high seas – skinny elephant seals trade safety for sustenance

By measuring how and when elephant seals sleep, researchers were able to figure out how elephant seals change their risk-taking behavior as they gain weight.
Getting the job done. A female Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) produced a daughter (left) without the assistance of a male. Skip Brown/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Virgin births from parthenogenesis: How females from some species can reproduce without males

Parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction in which an egg develops into an embryo without being fertilized by sperm, might be more common than you realized.

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