Satellite tagging and cardiac physiology reveal niche expansion in salmon sharks

Science. 2005 Oct 7;310(5745):104-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1114616.


Shark populations are declining globally, yet the movements and habitats of most species are unknown. We used a satellite tag attached to the dorsal fin to track salmon sharks (Lamna ditropis) for up to 3.2 years. Here we show that salmon sharks have a subarctic-to-subtropical niche, ranging from 2 degrees to 24 degrees C, and they spend winter periods in waters as cold as 2 degrees to 8 degrees C. Functional assays and protein gels reveal that the expression of excitation-contraction coupling proteins is enhanced in salmon shark hearts, which may underlie the shark's ability to maintain heart function at cold temperatures and their niche expansion into subarctic seas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Animal Identification Systems
  • Animal Migration
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Body Temperature
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature
  • Ecosystem
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism
  • Male
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Predatory Behavior
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel / metabolism
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • Satellite Communications
  • Seasons
  • Sharks / physiology*
  • Swimming
  • Temperature


  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • Calcium