Mutated sharks from a volcano crater may be the future of fish

The time is approaching when we should know the answer to the question of what strange sharks are looking for in a crater full of sulfur.

It is a unique underwater volcano. Its flooded crater is home to two species of fish – hammerheads and silk sharks. They probably arrived in it after its last eruption in 2014, or earlier.

Now Kavachi Volcano, near the Solomon Islands, has woken up. NASA staff recorded the activity using the Landsat-9 satellite. Satellite images captured clouds of altered water color over the volcano – eloquent signs of volcanic activity, indicating numerous eruptions, the magazine writes Live Science.

“You’ve heard of Sharknado (shark tornado – a series of horror movies expanded into video games and comics in which tornadoes take sharks to the mainland, where they kill people). Now get ready for Sharkano (shark volcano), “warns NASA’s Goddard Center in a tweet.

The increased activity of the volcano gives scientists a unique opportunity to study the impact of volcanoes on natural ecosystems.

Incomprehensible sharks

Kavachi Peak lies 20 meters below sea level and its base lies at the bottom at a depth of 1.2 kilometers. You will encounter it 24 kilometers south of Vangun Island, one of the Solomon Islands.

Kavachi eruption volcanic eruption recorded in 2020. | source:
Profimedia

Undersea volcanoes are a place where not only warm water but also a large amount of sulfur springs. This is an ideal place to live for various sulfur-dependent microorganisms.

But sharks are not microbes. Their presence in the crater of an active volcano therefore surprised the scientists. It raises many questions.

What do sharks feed on in the crater? Are they resistant to the conditions there, or do they arrive in the crater for a short time? And do these species also inhabit other volcanoes?

Fisheries for climate change

According to NASA data, the current period of stronger volcano activity, which probably lasts from October 2021, may help determine whether the sharks in Kavachi are permanent tenants or whether a series of eruptions will drive them out.

However, satellite images will not be enough. The expedition, which should reach the volcano in the coming months, will give more clues.

How wells sharks withstand warmer and more acidic water, and how creatures living in volcanoes taste, can be useful not only for understanding underwater ecosystems.

Due to climate change, the oceans of the future will be much warmer and much more acidic than they are today. The strange Kavachi sharks, if truly adapted to volcanic waters, could indicate the future of fish in the oceans and seas.

In the report of the expedition, which discovered sharks in the crater of the volcano in 2015 and which was published in a professional magazine Oceanography“The ecosystem, which is supported by the extreme environment of Kavachi Crater, can offer guidance on the types of animals that have survived past major changes in ocean chemistry and those that will thrive in the future.”

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