Swimming capabilities in deep-sea sharks


Researchers: Nicolas Pinte (principal investigator);
                        Jérôme Mallefet (principal investigator)
External collaborators:
- Dr. Vincent Baeten & Dr. Ouissam Abbas (CRA-W, Belgium)
- Dr. Christophe Devleeschouwer & Dr. Pascaline Parisot (UCLouvain, Belgium)
- Dr. Bruno Frederich (Ulg, Belgium)
- Dr. Clive Roberts & Dr. Vincent Zintzen (Te Papa Museum, New Zealand)
- Dr. Emma Jones & Dr. Richard O’Driscoll (NIWA, New Zealand)
- Dr. Keiichi Sato (Okinawa Churashima Research Center, Japan)


The swimming capability of an organism in the ocean has essential implications in survival behaviors because swimming is involved in many fundamental life-functions, such as hunting, escaping, migrating, and mating. Swimming capability will also largely dictate the home range of a species. Study of the locomotor system of shallow elasmobranchs was initiated in 1930 by Sir James Gray and numerous studies followed. While the swimming capabilities of shallow-water species become well known, the knowledges about deep-sea species is still poorly documented. Deep-sea shark species are suggested to be slow and listless swimmers based on indirect measurement of their metabolism. Since 2015 my doctorate aims the study of deep-sea shark capabilities with direct values of swimming speed using stereo video analyses. From that, difference of cruise swimming speed was observed between several species, with some of them swimming relatively fast. The second objective is to understand how these faster sharks can reach this velocity through anatomical, physiological and morphological adaptation.