Effects of Surgically-Implanted, Dummy Transmitters on Captive, Juvenile Sandbar Sharks, Carcharhinus plumbeus
A laboratory study was undertaken to determine the behavioral and physiological effects of surgical implantation of dummy acoustic
transmitters into the peritoneal cavities of juvenile sandbar sharks, Carcharhinus plurnbeus (Nardo 1827). Intraperitoneal implantation lacked
significant effect on red (hematocrit) and white blood cell count, growth rate, and condition factor. Recovery from the surgical implantation was neither
rapid nor total; feeding behavior was delayed, and mortality rate of experimental sharks was greater than those of control sharks. Two sharks ruptured
sutures at the incision site, resulting in eventual mortality. In addition to general appearance, identification of a moribund shark was possible through
the monitoring of compromised parameters such as red and white blood cell counts. With refined surgical procedure and carefully assessed experimental
protocol, intraperitoneal implantation appears to provide a suitable technique for attaching transmitters to sharks, and may be preferable to existing
methods for many other fishes.
I acknowledge the management and staff of the Wallops Island Marine Science Consortium for their cooperation during this project.
Special thanks are extended to "Stumpy," R.D. Grubbs, P. Parker, S. Temmermand, T. Klinger, and A. Answini, as well as the many students and volunteers
who made this work possible. I also acknowledge the support and assistance given by the staff of the Virginia Marine Resource Commission.
Financial assistance provided by Hofstra University was paramount in this undertaking. E. H. Kaplan provided me with analytical
equipment, aquarium hardware, and useful insight. C.J.P. Sanford, E.H. Kaplan, and D. Noble yielded helpful criticism and discussion of this manuscript.
Ultimately, the infectious enthusiasm of J.F. Morrissey to probe the unknown aspects of sharks' lives deserves attention.