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Narwhal Camp 2018: Sharks in the slow lane

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Nigel Hussey of University of Windsor. © Tom Arnbom / WWF

Large dark shadows patrol the depths of Tremblay Sound waiting for something to feast on. Equipped with hundreds of razor-sharp teeth, the Greenland shark is the most common large predator of the Arctic. Nigel Hussey from Windsor University is the leading world expert on these sharks that live life in the “slow lane”.

Greenland shark, Lancaster Sound, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Canada. © National Geographic Stock / Paul Nicklen / WWF

Greenland sharks continuously surprise us as we learn more about them. These fantastic fish are the grandfathers of the Arctic, reaching over 400 years old. They are about the same size as white sharks. Almost all Greenland sharks are partially blind because of a parasite that infests their eyes. Exactly how they find and catch their prey is still a mystery but it is most likely by smell.

An important part of the research in Tremblay is to find out how Greenland sharks and narwhals interact with each other and the Tremblay Sound ecosystem. Sharks are equipped with electronic tags so Nigel and his team can follow their daily lives and uncover more about these enigmatic and fascinating predators.

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