How Scientists Discovered a New Shark Species Near Florida

A team of scientists from the Florida Institute of Technology has discovered a new species of deep-water dogfish shark in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic Ocean.


Four researchers, including Florida Institute of Technology assistant professor and shark biologist Toby Daly-Engel, recenlty announced the discovery of a new dogfish shark discovery. It was found off the coast of Belize .
   Marine biologists have a reason to celebrate        this Shark Week. A team of scientists from the Florida Institute of Technology has discovered a  new species of deep-water dogfish shark in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic Ocean.


The species, named Squalus clarkae, also known as Genie’s Dogfish, was identified by Dr. Toby Daly-Engel, assistant professor and shark biologist, along with marine scientists Dr. Mariah Pfleger of Oceana and Florida State University’s Dr. Dean Grubbs and Dr. Chip Cotton. The confirmation of this new species was reported this month in the journal Zootaxa.
Before their discovery, biologists had labeled this species of dogfish shark Squalus mitsukurii, a type that appears similar to the Genie’s Dogfish on the surface. It wasn’t until Daly-Engel’s team applied genetic testing and morphology, a method that studies an organism through physical appearance, that scientists could identify Genie’s Dogfish as a new and separate species.


Deep-sea sharks are all shaped by similar evolutionary pressure, so they end up looking a lot alike,” Daly-Engel explained. “So we rely on DNA to tell us how long a species has been on its own, evolutionarily, and how different it is.” Her discovery is a boon to marine biologists who are racing against time to identify and monitor deep-sea species as their environments become increasingly accessible to humanThe
The newly discovered shark species was named Squalus clarkae in honor of Eugenie Clark, the world-renowned biologist whose research was critical to understanding shark behavior. Even “Genie’s Dogfish” refers to Clark’s nickname, Genie, who spent significant time working in the Gulf of Mexico as the founding director of Mote Marine Laboratory in the Florida Keys.
“Dr. Clark was a trailblazer for women in shark biology,” Pfleger said. “Her work showed me that it was possible to make my mark in a male-dominated field. This paper is a perfect example of how her career has influenced multiple generations of women in science: the first author is a woman who graduated from a woman-led lab.”

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Scien-Tech News: How Scientists Discovered a New Shark Species Near Florida
How Scientists Discovered a New Shark Species Near Florida
A team of scientists from the Florida Institute of Technology has discovered a new species of deep-water dogfish shark in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic Ocean.
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