Marine biologists are puzzled by the hundreds of leopard sharks washing up dead on the shores of San Francisco for the past seven weeks.
They wonder if it could be the sign of a major problem throughout the Pacific Ocean. As both scavengers and super-predators, sharks in general play a critical role in keeping the ocean’s ecosystem in balance.
Sharks eat fish that are the weakest and help maintain “prey species diversity” by keeping other predators in check. Scientists worry that any decline in shark populations may threaten fishery operations and also indicate deeper problems in the ecosystem.
Find out what exactly is happening off the San Francisco coast and the possible explanations for it on the next page.