The Secret Life of Sharks: A Leading Marine Biologist Reveals the Mysteries o

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Simon and Schuster, Jun 17, 2008 - Nature - 304 pages
Marine biologist Pete Klimley swims with the sharks. He was one of the first scientists to free-dive among sharks, and he has spent nearly thirty years studying shark behavior, sometimes swimming in schools of several hundred sharks. From his firsthand observations he has learned that sharks are not the vicious man-eaters that we imagine, but fascinating animals with complex behaviors.

Most people who think of sharks at all think immediately of great white sharks. But there are more than four hundred species of shark. Dr. Klimley has studied several species, most notably the great white and the hammerhead. (He describes the great white as the athlete among sharks, and the hammerhead as the Ph.D. of the shark world.) In The Secret Life of Sharks Dr. Klimley reveals the significant discoveries he made about hammerhead navigation and great white eating habits. By studying hammerheads gathered around underwater seamounts, Dr. Klimley learned that hammerheads rely on sophisticated tracking of ocean-floor magnetism to navigate. His long-term study of great white sharks off the California coast demonstrated that these huge sharks prefer to eat seals and sea lions because of the energy contained in their fatty bodies. They are selective eaters, not the man-eaters we expect, and they sometimes go weeks between meals. But Dr. Klimley did observe a ritualized behavior that great whites practice in order to avoid deadly disputes over prey that one shark has captured and another wants.

Although we have learned a great deal about shark behavior, says Dr. Klimley, there is much that we do not know. Unfortunately we are destroying these magnificent creatures of the deep through overfishing and degradation of the oceans. Already some populations of sharks have declined steeply.

Vividly written by one of the foremost authorities on sharks, The Secret Life of Sharks is a fascinating account of some of the world's most magnificent animals.

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User Review  - breic2 - LibraryThing

I devoured this fantastic book describing some highlights of a marine biologist's career studying sharks over thirty years. Well-written, the book focuses on the process of science, as fascinating ... Read full review

The secret life of sharks: a leading marine biologist reveals the mysteries of shark behavior

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This book should have been titled The Secret Life of A. Peter Klimley. While it contains information about sharks, the primary focus is the author's marine biology career, scientific methods, and ... Read full review


Shark Fever
CrossSpecies Dressing
Shark Sex in the Miami Seaquarium
Diving with Sharks in Southern California
Swimming with Hammerhead Sharks
Solving the Mystery of Hammerhead Schools
Shark Rush Hour at Gorda Seamount
Hammerhead Sharks as Ocean Navigators
In Quest of the White Shark
White Shark Predation at the Farallon Islands
Talking with Their Tails
Baby White Shark Gets Away on National Television
Electronic Monitoring of White Sharks at Afio Nuevo Island
SharkEating Humans or ManEating Sharks?
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Page iii - I would like to dedicate this book to the memory of my father, my mother, and my grandmother.

About the author (2008)

A. Peter Klimley is an internationally known marine biologist. An adjunct associate professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis, Klimley has published articles on sharks in American Scientist, Natural History, and other popular magazines, as well as more than fifty scientific articles. He has appeared in numerous film documentaries worldwide. A coauthor of the leading academic book on great white sharks, Dr. Klimley lives in Petaluma, California.

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