Lunar cycles, like werewolves and those who are much too into astrology, may have an odd pull on sharks – new research suggests that shark attacks are more common during full moon phases. Scientists from Louisiana State University and the University of Florida combed through 55 years of shark attack data from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File and published their findings in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.
There was a definite link between shark attacks and the phases of the moon, with more attacks occurring during periods of higher lunar light and fewer attacks occurring during periods of lower illumination. However, the rationale behind this odd observation remains unknown. You may think it has to do with the moonlight illuminating the sea, making prey more apparent, but the researchers believe there are other variables at work.
The moon’s gravitational influence on ocean tides, as well as its effect on electromagnetic waves that sharks and many other organisms use to navigate, are two possible candidates. “It’s not a case of sharks seeing more light at night. The majority of shark attacks happen during the day.
Other forces, such as the gravitational pull that affects the tides, can be exerted by the moon on Earth and its oceans in much more subtle ways.” In a statement, research author Steve Midway, an associate professor of oceanography at Louisiana State University, said. Although they acknowledge that the correlation between moon phases and shark attacks may not be causal at all – another factor could explain the link, or it could simply be chance – they believe it is strong enough to warrant additional examination.
“The amount of data we have suggests that there is something there worth looking into further,” Midway remarked. Remember that shark attacks are extremely rare; in 2020, the International Shark Attack File documented and confirmed 57 unprovoked shark attacks and 39 provoked attacks worldwide. There were 13 shark-related fatalities that year, compared to four unprovoked fatalities on average in the world.
They also point out that bitten by a person in New York City is 100 times more likely than being bitten by a shark in the United States. Human attacks on sharks, on the other hand, are extremely prevalent. Humans thought to be responsible for the deaths of around 100 million sharks each year, according to research. Someone needs to hire a better public relations firm for sharks.