Bob Hueter is one of the foremost shark experts in the US. He taught our class on sharks at Mote when I first started. I'm going to try to sit in again when the classes are taught again in February.Australia's hybrid shark reveals evolution in action
University of Queensland
This image shows a hybrid black tip shark containing both Common and Australian black tip DNA.
By John Roach
Hybrid sharks have been discovered swimming in the waters off Australia's east coast. The finding may be driven by climate change, a research team says, suggesting such discoveries could be more common in the future.
The hybridization is between the Australian black tip shark which favors tropical waters and the larger, common black tip shark, which favors sub-tropical and temperate waters.
While the distribution for the genetically distinct species overlaps along the northern and eastern Australian coastline, the finding that they mated and produced offspring is unprecedented, according to the discovery team from the University of Queensland.
"To actually find something like this and prove it genetically is unprecedented," Bob Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, told me Tuesday.
Hueter was not involved with the research, though one of the scientists responsible for the discovery used to work in his lab, which he said lends the finding credibility. The finding is based on genetic testing and body measurements and reported December 2011 in the journal Conservation Genetics.
The team identified 57 of the hybrids from five locations spanning 1,250 miles along the Australian coast.