Skip to content

Scientists Get Help From Sharks

Scientists are learning more about the ocean with the help of some sharks!

A tiger shark swims over a bed of seagrass.

Gallagher, A.J., Brownscombe, J.W., Alsudairy, N.A. et al. Tiger sharks support the characterization of the world’s largest seagrass ecosystem. Nat Commun 13, 6328 (2022). (CC BY 4.0)

It’s not always easy for people to explore the ocean. So scientists studying seagrass (grass that grows in the sea) decided recently to get some helpers. They attached cameras and other equipment to tiger sharks!

The team of scientists wanted to know how much seagrass is growing in an area of ocean near a group of islands called the Bahamas. They attached cameras or tracking equipment to 15 tiger sharks. The sharks were then released and swam around as they normally would. The cameras and equipment were designed to fall off the sharks within about 24 hours.

The pictures and other information captured by the equipment show that the patch of seagrass near the Bahamas is as large as 35,521 square miles (92,000 square kilometers). It might be the largest patch of seagrass on the planet!

Scientists say it’s important to know where there’s seagrass. Like forests, seagrass takes in carbon dioxide, which means it plays a big part in controlling climate change.

Before the study, scientists didn’t know how large the patch of seagrass was. In fact, there is still a lot that humans don’t know about the ocean because it can be hard to explore. Thanks to the sharks, we’re learning more. The size of the seagrass patch is good news for the climate.

Fun Fact Icon

Fun Fact

A scuba diver faces a tiger shark pup and a bubble shows the shark asking if the diver wants to meet its 29 brothers and sisters.

© Pixattitude/, ArteSub/Alamy, © wildestanimal/; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Young tiger sharks are called pups. One tiger shark mother can give birth to as many as 70 pups at a time! But most litters contain 20 to 30 pups.

Shark Bites

Is that a great white shark? Nope! That’s a tiger shark. Tiger sharks get their name from the up-and-down stripes on their bodies. The stripes are easiest to see when a tiger shark is young. They fade as the shark becomes an adult. That’s why it might be hard to tell a tiger shark apart from a great white shark. Here are some other differences between the two species.

© Hussain/, © Bennymarty/, © Diane Keough–Moment/Getty Images; Photo illustration Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Shark Party!

Different species of shark pop up in an ocean scene.

© bullet_chained, zozulinskyi/; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Did you know that there are hundreds of species of shark? You can read more about sharks at Britannica School!

Word of the Day Icon

Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: having or showing many teeth

Definitions provided by
Merriam-Webster Logo
Game Icon


There are so many shark species. Can you find the ones that are hidden in this puzzle?


In Case You Missed It

Scientists invented a robot that protects birds by getting them to fly away from airports. It looks like a falcon!


Some famous stone lions had to be repaired, so an artist made a replacement out of LEGO!


Jeans that were made in the late 1800s were found in an old mine. And they look a lot like today’s jeans!


Eleven-year-old Isaac Winfield collects food in his driveway so people can take what they need.