Brooklyn Boro

Sharks aren’t mindless killers, Brooklyn scientist insists

August 15, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Dr. Alisa Newton, the head of aquatic health for the Wildlife Conservation Society, doesn’t share the common view of sharks being mindless eating machines and dislikes seeing them pulled out of the water after shark attacks off New York City’s beaches.

Newton, who spends 12-hour days at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, insists that “sharks are cool and docile, with personalities and quirks,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Newton, who sometimes gives friendly massages to the aquarium’s resident sharks, also works with other marine animals such as harbor seals. For part of the year, she spends weeks aboard a research vessel off the Atlantic coast, tagging sharks and tracking their migration. She also has artificially inseminated sand tiger sharks, and she’s trying to determine why some of the males of that species have “fallen out of sync” with their female counterparts despite the fact that it’s breeding season, the Journal reported.

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Newton hasn’t always worked with marine mammals – before Superstorm Sandy, she was WCS’s senior veterinary pathologist and was based at the Bronx Zoo. The aquarium’s sharks are housed inside its new $158 million exhibit, Ocean Wonders: Sharks, which opened this summer.


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