Sniffing, Glowing Sharks


How do sharks find their way home? They follow their noses.

Great white sharks routinely travel between California and Hawaii. Salmon sharks regularly swim between Alaska and subtropical Pacific reefs.

My colleagues from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and elsewhere discovered that leopard sharks find their way home by sniffing molecules, which get more concentrated as they near their home along the shores of La Jolla, Calif.

Do sharks talk by glowing? Using a “shark eye” camera, researchers from Scripps discovered that swellsharks in Scripps Canyon communicate with one another by glowing. 

Swellsharks transform from faint light blue to a breathtaking fluorescent green color, a process called bio-fluorescence, which cannot be detected by the human eye unless certain eye filters are used. 

Swellsharks swim along the edge of Scripps Canyon – a marine wonderland within swimming distance of Black’s Beach beneath the bluffs of Torrey Pine (rarest pines in America) in La Jolla. 

Please never eat shark fin soup or purchase personal care products like lipstick, lip-balm, moisturizer, eye makeup or sunscreens containing squalene or shark liver oil. 

Each year 100 million sharks are brutally slaughtered to feed an insatiable demand for shark fins and shark liver oil. Ninety percent of many shark species are gone.

Sharks help keep the oceans functioning. If the sharks die, we die.

Together, let’s ensure that this never happens by supporting Sea Shepherd because they are protecting the sharks. 

Love is the solution. 

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Dave our Oceans.”