Oceanography/Great White Sharks
QUESTION: I'm doing some research on the GWS and the selective forces behind their major adaptations. I found some tradeoffs that involve adaptations such not having a bladder and having binocular and was wondering if you can give me more insight on other tradeoffs that accompany some of their behavioral/physiological adaptations. Their For example, are there any disadvantages to having a low metabolic rate? What about dermal denticles, electroreceptors, etc. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
ANSWER: Hi Nadine
I am a bit confused here because you refer to the adaptations of the GWS yet most o the examples you give are common to all sharks and many bony fishes.
I would think you'd be targeting specializations somewhat unique to the species, like triangular serrated teeth, huge size, etc.
If you can clarify I will try to help - though be aware I am not a shark expert per se - more of a coral reef fish ecologist/a;ll purpose ichthyologist.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Again,
Sorry about the confusion. I mentioned their large body size, serrated teeth, their exceptionally large gills, their dermal denticles, and the fact that they are ovoviparious. However, I cannot find any articles, books, or other internet sources that talk about some of the trade-offs of these adaptations. I get that having a large body requires a lot of maintenance. But are there any disadvantages to, say, having large gills, serrated teeth, etc? just some insight would be very helpful. Thanks so much!
The sorts of questions you ask are more general biological questions that would apply to many species, not just the one you are interested in.
The answers are fairly generic; for example having large gills means that as well as allowing for greater oxygen transport rates (a benefit) there are associated issues with the other substances that cross gill membranes such as salts which must be excreted (a drawback).
Serrated teeth are great for cutting through meat, but not as good for gripping or crushing, etc.
There are ALWAYS tradeoffs to specific design features; if there were not, all fishes would have identical designs.