The Topic:
Sharks

If you are looking for information about a specific type of shark, click on our companion Shark Species page where will find connections to hundreds of more websites containing additional pictures and information.
 
Easier - Most people think of a shark as being a large, ferocious fish that has sharp teeth and feeds on meat. But in truth a shark can be one of over 370 different types and range in size from the whale shark, the largest of all fish that measure up to forty feet long, to the smallest shark, the spined pygmy shark that only grow to a length of about six inches.
 
Harder - Sharks are found in all types of oceans including the arctic, but most are found in warm seas. Some prefer the spacious ocean depths, others are found in coastal waters, a few enter rivers and lakes that empty into the sea, and one species found in India and Pakistan lives only in freshwater rivers.
 
Sharks are different from most other kinds of fish. They have a unique boneless skeleton that is composed of tough, elastic cartilage. Most sharks have a rounded tough-skinned, streamlined shaped body, somewhat like a torpedo. This helps them to swim. Unlike most fish, sharks do not have a swim bladder. Instead their oversized liver is filled with an oil that is lighter-weight than water. This also aids their swimming ability. Even so, most sharks must constantly swim or their body would sink.
 
Unlike fish which spawn millions of eggs, sharks have relatively few young and those mature slowly. Shark eggs are fertilized inside the female's body. Among most species of sharks, the fertilized eggs are hatched inside the female, and the pups are born alive. However, about 40 shark species do lay their eggs outside their bodies. Young shark pups are not cared for by either parent, and their greatest threat is being eaten by a larger shark.
 
Search for Ancient Sharks at Discovery School
http://school.discovery.com/schooladventures/prehistoricsharks/
Go on a virtual tour of the ancient seas. Then head to the shark gallery for a peek at the modern-day shark's frightening ancestors.
Other Shark Resources at Discovery:
2) Shark Cam http://dsc.discovery.com/cams/cams.html
3) Shark Video Gallery http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/sharkweek/video/main.html
4) Shark Realities http://www.discovery.com/area/nature/sharks/splash.html
5) Shark Zone http://www.discovery.com/exp/prehistoricsharks/sharkzone.html
6) Virtual Shark Buffet . . . Feed Your Need http://www.discovery.com/stories/nature/sharkweek/sharkweek.html
 
Sharks and Their Relatives at SeaWorld
http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/sharks-&-rays/index.htm
At this site, you can learn all about sharks; where they live, their physical characteristics and attributes, eating habits, anatomy and physiology, and much more.
Similar Websites:
2) Shark Safari at National Geographic
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/sharks/index.html
3) Shark School at the San Diego Natural History Museum http://www.sdnhm.org/kids/sharks/index.html
4) Sharks of the Island at PBS http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sharks/
 
Sharks Trailhead at Virtual Field Trips
http://www.field-trips.org/sci/sharks/index/htm
Did you know that about 80% of the shark species have never attacked humans? Sharks are found in all the oceans of the world, but there are only four species that are considered dangerous: the great white shark (known to most of us courtesy of the movie "Jaws"), tiger shark, bull shark and oceanic whitetip shark. Humans are not the preferred food of sharks despite public hysteria and opinion to the contrary. Research suggests it to be a case of mistaken identity. Read about this and much more on this virtual tour of sharks.
 
Zoom Sharks: All About Sharks at Enchanted Learning
http://www.EnchantedLearning.com/subjects/sharks/index.html
This is the site of a comprehensive on-line hypertext book about sharks.
 
Using the websites, complete one or more of the following projects about sharks.
 
What is Your Favorite Shark? Do you have a favorite? Pick a species of shark and describe why it is unique, why it is different than other sharks. Explain why it's your favorite shark.
 
Compare and Contrast Sharks to Other Fish. Identify all the characteristics and traits of sharks that are like and those that differ from most other fishes. You can get lots of help at sites like Sharks (http://www.vanaqua.org/education/aquafacts/sharks.html) at AquaFacts, Make a diagram that explains your findings. You may want to include drawings or pictures that illustrate your main points.
 
Make a Shark Mural. This could be a group project. Sketch out a plan for the layout and divide up the activities: research, deep ocean, coastal shoreline, Pacific, Atlantic, species, drawing, coloring etc. Suggest that you begin by brainstorming what you already know and what you need to learn about sharks. Then work toward creating a wall mural that contains as many shark species as possible.
 
Debate the Danger of Sharks. Research the danger of shark attacks using the resources of sites like (1) Truth About the Monsters of the Deep (http://library.thinkquest.org/J001458/), (2) Sharks: Predators of the Deep (http://www.casema.net/~jkoetze/), and the (3) Center for Shark Research (http://www.mote.org/~rhueter/sharks/shark.phtml). You may also want to read online articles such as (4) Teen Surfer Describes Shark Attack (http://www.cnn.com/2003/us/west/11/02/shark.attack.ap/), (5) Underwater Terror: Our Fear of Sharks (http://www.mavigateway.com/~/echler/sharks.htm), and (6) Surfers Fall Prey to Great White Shark (http://www.igorilla.com/gorilla/animal/Surfers_fall_prey_to_great_white_shark.html) by Christopher Munnion,. Take one side or the other and debate the issue of shark attacks.
 
Make a Shark Safety Poster. Although the dangers of shark attacks may be greatly exaggerated, an awareness of safe procedures in shark territory is important. Create a poster that communicates the correct precautions and actions to be taken where sharks are present.
 
Complete a Shark WebQuest. Follow or adapt the procedures found at one of the following webQuest sites:
1) Shark Search by Martha McIntyre (Grade 5)
http://www.sbceo.k12.ca.us/~aliso/Final/Sharksearch1.html
2) Sharks: What's on the Menu?
http://www.mcvts.org/ettc/mentoring/sharks.htm
3) Shocking Sharks! by Pat Dobson and Laura Carlson
http://projects.edtech.sandi.net/sessions/sharks/
 
Websites By Kids For Kids
Exploring Sharks (1998 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/4095/
Here you can learn all about sharks.
 
Hunters of The Mighty Deep (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/6012/
This site has information about several species of shark.
 
Megamouth Shark (2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J002458/
The Megamouth shark is rarely seen but has interesting characteristics. A visit to this site will show where the megamouths live, how big they are, their habitat, and their diet.
 
Sea Full of Sharks (2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J001597/
This site features information about four current species and a few ancient species of sharks. There is a simulation where a visitor makes decisions about what kind of food, water, and area of water a bull shark should live in. Also included is a picture album, a game page with a word search, and a true or false quiz.
 
Shark (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/6079/
Learn about what sharks eat, what they look like and where they live.
 
Shark-Network (1999 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/26501/
Unjustly accused of being killers, sharks are very interesting animals that deserve a better image then the one they have in some movies. This project site shows you a different view and interesting news about this fantastic fish.
 
Sharks (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5190/
This webpage has pictures and lots of information on different types of sharks: the Great White, Whale Shark, Sand Tiger Shark, Basking Shark, and the Hammerhead Shark.
 
Sharks (2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J003092F/
A world of sharks awaits you if you visit this site. Find out about several different kinds of sharks, see student created illustrations of the sharks and some real pictures of sharks, too.
 
Sharks Alive! A Guide to Sharks (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5639/
This site provides an interactive introduction to the shark world.
 
Sharks: Monsters of Nature (1998 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/21608/
Did you know that there is a species of shark that can live to be 100 years old? Did you know that predatory sharks lose their teeth and grow new ones every week or two?
 
Tiger Shark
http://library.thinkquest.org/J002237/fish/tigershark.htm
This webpage section of a ThinkQuest project provides information about the Tiger Shark.
 
Truth About the Monsters of the Deep (Silver Award, 2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J001458/
This site tells about the shark's ecosystem (eating and habitat), their physical attributes and structure, instincts, and reproduction. Specific information about the Great White Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Tiger Shark and Whale shark can also be found. There is also a page with interesting facts about sharks and an interview with marine biologist, Philip S. Lobel.
 
More Shark Sites
Number 1 Source for Sharks
http://www.sharks.com
This site gives you information on types, facts, attacks, forum and galleries about sharks.
 
Shark! Beyond the Jaws
http://animal.discovery.com/convergence/safari/shark/shark.html
This article is aimed at dispelling some of the myths surrounding the shark as well as providing some preventive tips. The different sections are: Into the Jaws, Expert Talk, Quizes, and more web links.
 
Canadian Shark Research Laboratory
http://www.mar.dfo-mpo.ca/science/shark/english/
Sharks are marine fishes that can be found throughout the world oceans, including in the Arctic. Only 18 shark species reside in Canadian Atlantic waters, 4 of which are considered to be occasional visitors. The remaining 14 species are seen with some regularity.
 
Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory
http://www.mote.org/~rhueter/sharks/shark.phtml
Here you can learn about shark behavior, anatomy, diversity, attacks, myths, and research.
Related Website:
2) Sharks at Ocean of Know http://artcontext.com/~ocean/overview.html
 
Fiona's Shark Mania
http://www.oceanstar.com/shark/
This shark site features the most complete list of shark links on the Web: educational, scientific, conservationist, commercial -- for shark fans of all types.
Not-to-be-Missed Sections:
2) SHARK-L Mailing List http://www.oceanstar.com/shark/list.htm
Related Website:
3) Archives of SHARK-L http://raven.utc.edu/archives/shark-l.html
 
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation
http://www.pelagic.org/
The word "shark" almost invariably raises sinister, alarming images in the minds of most people. The average shark is neither menacing nor malevolent. In fact, sharks considered "man eaters" like Great Whites are like many other large predators, similar to mountain lions or bears, which are essentially indifferent to humans in most circumstances.
Related Websites:
2) Shark Foundation http://www.shark.ch/
3) Shark Database http://www.shark.ch/Sharkdb/sharkdb.shtml
 
Sharks from the Ichthyology Department at the Florida Museum of Natural History
http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/sharks.htm
This site features information about White sharks, Megamouth sharks, shark attacks, and more.
Websection:
2) How to Avoid a Shark Attack by George Burgess http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Kids/Avoid/avoid.htm
 
Sharks of Hawai`i
http://www.aloha.com/~lifeguards/sharintr.html
Learn about the variety of shark species common to the Hawaiian Islands.
Similar Websites:
2) Capt. Tom's Guide to New England Sharks http://newenglandsharks.com/shark_species_in_the_new_england.htm
3) Sharks of Delaware, Maryland from the Graduate College of Marine Studies, Univ. of Delaware
http://www.beach-net.com/Shark.html
4) Sharks: Myth and Mystery from Monterey Bay Aquarium http://www.mbayaq.org/efc/sharks.asp
 
Sharks: Predators of the Deep by Jan W. H. Koetze
http://www.casema.net/~jkoetze/
Sharks have been given a bad name, largely by media sensationalism and widespread ignorance. The few attacks that occur are greatly exaggerated. Man can continue to live with this complex and misunderstood animal.
Similar Websites:
2) Masterpiece of Evolution - The Shark by Ben S. Roesch http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/~bz050/HomePage.shark.html
3) White Shark Central http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Andes/2771/index.html
 
Websites For Teachers
How Do Sharks Find their Prey?
http://www.tpt.org/newtons/14/sharks02.html#activity
Do vibrations travel differently through different substances? Begin with a large, empty, plastic zip-lock bag. First, blow air into the bag and zip it shut. Place your ear on one side of the bag and have a helper make a noise or say something on the other side. Now fill the bag with water and try again.
 
Secrets of the Ocean Realm - Sharks at PBS (Grades 5-7)
http://www.pbs.org/oceanrealm/intheschool/school6.html
This lesson involves students in studying the role played by sharks in marine food chains, collecting items similar to those recovered from shark stomachs, and creating an informative and entertaining natural history exhibit.
 
Sharks at Discovery.com (Grades 6-8)
http://school.discovery.com/lessonplans/programs/ultimateguide-sharks/index.html
Students will understand the wide variety of adaptations that help sharks to survive in their habitats.
 
shark
carnivorous
apex predator
Chondrichthyes
prey
viviparous
shark's teeth
pelagic
benthic
estuarine
attack
evolution
fish
ampulla of Lorenzini
cartilaginous
bottom dweller
lacteral line canal
open water
olfactory system
pup
dermal denticles
dorsal fin
fusiform body
ichtyology
migration
pectoral fin
elasmobranch
pinnipeds
gills
endangered
spiracles
vibration detection
electro-reception
remora
plankton
adaptation
 
 
 
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 1/01. Updated by the King Family, 9/04.