Scientific American has published an article titled: Today’s Sharks: Smart, Tagged and in short supply. It highlights the race that scientists face with studying the shark before it is fished out of existence. The article also contrasts the high-tech research methods currently employed, including satellite tracking, genetic analysis and HD cameras, with the available technology in 1987 when Discovery first launched their Shark Week series. Amongst the results is a growing realization that sharks are very intelligent:
“Many sharks have good learning capacity, which is one way we measure intelligence,” says Samuel Gruber, a marine biologist at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), who discovered in 1975 that lemon sharks could learn a classical conditioning task 80 times faster than a cat or rabbit. “I was shocked to find that they could learn so rapidly,” he says. Gruber’s National Science Foundation–supported Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas, known as Sharklab, is now planning to start a doctoral research program on shark cognition.