Scientists who were surveying coral reefs 200 miles west of Ireland stumbled on an incredible sight – a shark nursery that is believed to be the largest of its kind in Irish waters.
The SeaRover, a remotely operated vehicle sent into the ocean by Ireland’s Marine Institute and its partners, captured thousands of egg cases or “mermaid purses” that were deposited on coral skeletons at depths of up to 2500 feet. The eggs are thought to belong to catsharks and the camera also managed to capture the rare species of sailfin roughshark.
The scientists are looking to go back during hatching season to observe the shark pups when they are born, David O’Sullivan, the chief scientist on the SeaRover survey said.
“This discovery shows the significance of documenting sensitive marine habitats, and will give us a better understanding of the biology of these beautiful animals and their ecosystem function in Ireland’s Biologically Sensitive Area,” O’Sullivan said in a statement.