Red muscle, tissue samples and measurements, oh my. The Seaside Aquarium donated four salmon sharks for dissection at Astoria High School last week.
Students from Lee Cain's second year Salmon Biology class took tissue samples and measurements of each shark dissected and recorded the data, which will be sent on to shark researchers.
The salmon sharks dissected are sharks that washed up onto the beach during a spate of discoveries in July and August. According to Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium staff member, the four sharks all appeared to have been pupped this year, with the largest measuring 37 inches in length; typically, at birth, salmon sharks measure 31.5 to 34 inches.
The sharks dissected equally represented both genders with two being male and two female.
"Everything went wonderfully," said Boothe. "We didn't really find much out, but that was not the reason we were dissecting the sharks. The purpose was to get measurements of the sharks and collect tissue samples. The data we collected will be used in various salmon shark studies."
The studies include several unspecified studies at Stanford University and a vascular heat-exchange study being done by the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Salmon sharks are in the same group as Great White and Mako sharks. They are capable of raising their own body temperature higher than that of the water temperature in which they are swimming, through a vascular counter-current heat exchange system. The heat exchange allows for two qualities specific to the group - they are able to swim at speeds of up to 50 knots and live in sub-arctic waters.
Some of the samples collected will be used in the further study of the heat exchange system.