Lindsey is a CSUMB undergraduate interning at MLML with PSRC.
This week at Shark Army Justin Cordova, intern, showed us how to take denticle samples from sharks. This includes ten areas through previous studies that have shown to have differences on the same individual. Paul then reviewed with us how to take correct photos of specimens, biological samples, genetics, and finally how to skeletonize. Shark Army then grouped up and worked on a specimen and applied all these techniques.
I was working with interns Jimmy and Kayla where we took photos and recorded data from a birdbeak shark, or Deania calcea. This shark was beat up a bit with the snout crushed and pectoral and pelvic fin missing. While most of the insides were already gone, the stomach remained and inside we found two small fish remains. We kept these to later see about the diet of this shark. Since genetics had already been taken for this shark we did not need to take another sample. The last and most tedious step was skeletonizing the specimen. We peeled away the flesh and tissue to reveal the catligenous skeleton of the shark. This species of Deania had very large and robust denticles and while skelotnizing some samples of that were saved to use as a teaching tool. The cranium and the jaw are most difficult because while trying to get one you must be careful not to damage the other. Unfortunately, our specimen was already damaged from the storing and preservation. The birdbeak sharks have long snouts and that had ended up getting crushed breaking some of the cranium. We were able though to retrieve the jaws and vertebrae in tact.
These techniques will be helpful for when Paul returns from his second trip in the South Indian Ocean with another couple tons of sharks.