Sunday, 29 July 2012

repelling sharks by electrical shocks

The waters along Western Australia's South West coast may look pristine but they are also the world's deadliest for shark attacks.

It's a reputation nobody wants and the State Government has thrown money at a range of techniques and experts to try to keep white pointers at bay.

Shark tagging and aerial patrols are being used in the fight against attacks but a very different experiment has also shed light on the movements of the notoriously elusive great white.

Shark foetuses are proving immensely valuable in finding ways to protect WA waters from one of Australia's deadliest predators.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute have been shocking embryos with electrical pulses for the past few months to measure reactions.

A video recently released by UWA shows an embryonic bamboo shark being shocked, before it shuts down its own heart and plays dead.

Researchers say it's an amazing example of the shark's ability to detect weak electrical stimuli from the muscle contractions of other animals.

While most sharks use this to find and slaughter prey, smaller sharks can use it to avoid becoming that prey.

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