You may have heard that sharks need to keep swimming in order to stay alive because they need water to be constantly flow over their gills in order to get enough oxygen to survive.
Now, this is true for many species of shark, but it isn’t true for all of them. For instance, some species use a process known as buckled pumping, where muscles pour water through the mouth and over the gills internally.
But there is something else that keeps sharks on the move. If they were to stop swimming, sharks would actually sink.
Why Shark Must Keep Swimming
Sharks are what are known as cartilaginous fish, which means that their skeletons aren’t made from bone like ours are, but instead, they’re made of cartilage, the same stuff that you find all around your body, including in your nose.
Now, this sets them apart from many other species of fish, which are known as bony fish. And their skeletons are made up of primarily bone tissue, and it’s thought that their evolutionary paths split from each other over 400 million years ago. The bony fish went on to develop organs known as swim bladders.
By the way, I’m going to be doing an entire articls on because swim bladders are incredible and there is too much to talk about them to include in this article, but for now, all you need to know is that swim bladder is gasfield sacks.
These give the fish control over their buoyancy and their vertical position in the water by controlling the amount of gas that’s actually inside the SACS and it allows them to achieve something called neutral buoyancy at different depths.
Neutral buoyancy is where the density of an object is equal to the density of the fluid that it’s immersed in. In this case, the fluid is water. And this is essentially where the upward and the downward forces acting on an object are equal or balanced.
So an object that has neutral buoyancy will neither sink nor rise. Now, the swim bladders allow these fish to achieve neutral buoyancy which allows them to stay at their current depth without wasting energy swimming. Now, the cartilaginous fish, on the other hand, didn’t go on to develop these swim bladders.
Now some sharks just take advantage of this and live a bottom-dwelling existence. But other sharks have to work around the problem using a few different methods. The first thing that actually comes into play is actually the fact that their skeletons are made of cartilage, or cartilage is actually around half the density of bone.
So the complete exclusion of bone from their skeletons means that the sharks overall density is actually reduced. And then there’s the sharks massive livers are some sharks have livers that even take up 30% of their overall body mass.
But importantly, these livers are all packed full of oils. The oils are less dense than water, so they provide the sharks with additional buoyancy. But even with these features, sharks don’t have neutral buoyancy, so they have to utilize something called the dynamic lip.
As they swim through the water, they use their powerful pectoral fins in such a way that they generate lift. And this is actually really similar to how a plane uses its wings to fly through the air.
The shape and the angle of the wing cause air that’s flowing below it to be deflected down and through something known as the Coanda effect. It also causes air flying above it to follow its curve and also be deflected down.
Ultimately, this downward deflection of air forces the planes wing upward, and this is known as lift. And sharks utilize this process just instead of wings, they’re using fins. And instead of in the air, they’re in the water. So essentially, sharks are flying through the oceans. Now the lack of a swim bladder gives them the ability to freely move through different depths of water.
Fish that have swim bladders are generally limited to certain depths. And they also run the risk of harmful compression or decompression if they change the depth of their app too quickly.
The ability that sharks have to do this is actually one of the factors that contributes to their success as one of the formidable predators of the marine environment and allows them to have incredible maneuverability, but it does also come with some drawbacks.
For instance, it actually means that they can’t swim backwards. In order to go back they either have to drift in a current or completely turn themselves around. And even though there are some exceptions to the rule, like the recent discovery that some deepwater sharks actually have positive buoyancy, forcing them upwards.
What Happens if a Shark Stops Swimming?
If a shark does stop swimming, it’s going to lose its neutral buoyancy and therefore its ability to control and maintain its depth in the water. So soon, it will start to sink down into the deep blue sea.
Which Sharks Can Stop Swimming?
Tiger Shark and Nurse Shark can stop swimming and it is proven that they will not die if they stop swimming. There are some more Shark that can stop swimming. But Tiger and Nurse are the most well known.
Which Sharks Die if they stop Swimming?
Great White Shark, Marko Shark, Whale Shark will die if they stop swimming. The main reason is to die, they don’t get the required oxygen if they stop moving. Thet’s why they die.
If a shark stops swimming will it die?
Ans: Some sharks die and some are not, I have told that before already.
Can great white sharks stop swimming?
No, it can’t
Does a shark drown if it stops swimming?
Some shark that don’t get oxygen without swimming will be drown if stop swimming.