Warming Waters Bringing More Sharks to the Alabama Coast

A bull shark.

A bull shark. Sylke Rohrlach via Wikipedia

Over the past two decades, the number of young bull sharks in Mobile Bay, Alabama has multiplied fivefold, a new study finds.

Sharks thrive in warm, shallow coastal waters where prey abound. Globally, warming waters are driving sharks to new areas where they were previously scarce. Great white sharks, tiger sharks, and bull sharks have all edged northward.

The new study explores the role of warming in Mobile Bay. From 2003 to 2020, researchers captured and released juvenile bull sharks swimming through the bay. Over this period, the number of sharks captured per week rose fivefold.

Through the study, sea surface in Mobile Bay also warmed, with the average temperature rising from 72.1 degrees F to 73.4 degrees F. Modeling showed that temperatures above 72.5 degrees F are likely to draw more bull sharks. The findings were published in Scientific Reports.


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