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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Naming and shaming the world’s most ridiculous sharks

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Lots of people are frightened of sharks. That makes some sense if you think all sharks are relentless man-eating teeth-machines, but in reality the vast majority of them are much more scared of us, or they should be. There are over 350 species of sharks around the world, but they don’t all get to grab the headlines or star in feature film franchises. Here’s a quick guide to the silliest-named sharks in our oceans.

First up, have to be the Wobbegongs. These bottom-dwelling sharks often end up as the fish in Australian fish and chips, and they characteristically have strongly-patterned bodies and weird wobbly knobbly tassels. That makes them look a bit beardy-weirdy. But I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s hard to be too fearful of a Tassled wobbegong, or the ferocious sounding Floral-banded wobbegong.

Keeping up with the bottom dwelling sharks, next up is the demonic sounding Ginger carpetshark. Carpetsharks are so-called because they have patterns that, er, look like carpets. It’s a bit busy for me, but I guess people have different tastes.

Catsharks are a whole subfamily of shark species; presumably they are called kittensharks when they are little. Ramping up the ridiculous then is the dodgily-titled Flaccid catshark (someone thought long and hard about that name) and its cousin the Lollipop catshark (I’m not making this up, honestly!).

Then there are lanternsharks, some of the tiniest of all sharks, which glow in the dark. Not to be outdone they have some fine names too, like the Splendid lanternshark, who sounds like a jolly nice chap.

Cookiecutter sharks are a bit more ferocious, biting chunks out of unsuspecting prey, rather than baking biscuits, whilst the Hidden angelshark lurks in the sand to pounce on passers-by.

In the Hammerhead family there is the Scoophead (handy for ice cream) and the Scalloped bonnethead (handy for period dramas).

The Porbeagle confusingly is not a cross between a porpoise and a beagle, but a cousin to the Great White. And the Gummy shark confusingly does have teeth, but arguably sounds more like a confectionary creation.

And the Slender weasel shark and Flapnose houndshark really need a rebrand.

My own particular favourite though, dredged up in my trawl of shark species, is the bizarrely titled Sulu gollumshark, a name that honours both Star Trek and Lord of the Rings: Oh my, it’s precious! It also generates a very geeky image of whoever dreamed up the name.

So sharks don’t just deserve our fear and loathing, they also need to be loved and understood.  They generally have much more to fear from us than we do from them. Along with the many other despicable things we do to the world’s shark species, we don’t have to give them embarrassingly-stupid names.

Willie Mackenzie is an Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace UK. www.greenpeace.org

Marine Life & Conservation

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Paul Rose

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Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Ian and Gemma chat to Paul Rose. A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced divers, field science and polar experts, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.

He is an experienced television presenter and radio broadcaster. With a proven track record in business engagements, Paul is a sought-after speaker, chairman, host and moderator for industry, government and NGO events.

Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society(link is external) and Chair of the Expeditions and Fieldwork Division, Paul is currently Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions.

He was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for 10 years and was awarded HM The Queen’s Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he received the US Polar Medal.

Paul is a mountain and polar guide leading Greenland Icecap crossing and mountaineering expeditions and polar science support logistics. He worked for four years as a Mountain Safety consultant to the oil industry in the Middle East.

On his 2012 Greenland expedition, Paul led the first expedition to successfully traverse a new 275km icecap route of Knud Rasmussen Land and repeated his first ascent of the north face of Gunnsbjørnfjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic.

His professional diving work includes science support diving in Antarctica as the British Antarctic Survey’s Institute Diving Officer. He ran the US Navy diver training programme at Great Lakes Naval Training Centre and trained many emergency response dive teams including the Police, Fire Department and Underwater Recovery Teams. He remains a current and active PADI Dive Instructor.

Find out more about Paul Rose at www.paulrose.org


Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

How can we do what you do at Blue Planet?

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We at Blue Planet Aquarium usually get asked how people can do what we do; this question usually comes from young adults and children who are dreaming of careers in Marine Biology or Diving, and we make sure to help along the way as much as we can.

If you ask anyone in the industry how they got to where they are, you will always hear a different story, you will hear similarities but there will always be something different. Thus, I would always suggest for people to carve their own path in the industry, and of course this industry is huge with many different areas and avenues for you to go down, which is also what makes the industry so amazing, it allows everyone to have a speciality and to be able to do their part for the single goal of preserving our natural world.

Working as a Diver at Blue Planet is amazing for anyone who wants to make a career in the industry, for several reasons, it is good as it helps you gain diving experience both with animals and teaching students. It gives you chance to practice diving skills in what could be considered difficult diving due to the tasks we have to carry out, and it also allows you to learn about HSE regulations and laws which also helps makes you safe and aware.

Here at Blue Planet, we have people spanning a multitude of different careers, from Marine Biology, Military Diving, Photography and Dive Guiding, it is this that makes the team so amazing as we have a go to person for everything.

The best advice I can give to anyone who wanted to work on the dive team or in an aquarium, would be to have a decent amount of diving experience and be able to demonstrate good diving knowledge, along with being respectful to the environment and animals and being able to work well in a team. It is also helpful to be outgoing and confident as although we work behind the scenes, we are still in the view of guests when we do our feeds or public dives.

For more information about Blue Planet Aquarium please visit their website by clicking here.

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