This video is called tiger shark and more shark images by Mike Neumann.
From Discovery Channel:
July 11, 2007 — Australian tiger sharks keep a tidy lawn for their marine neighbors by controlling where local herbivores can nibble, according to a study published in the current issue of Animal Behavior.
The discovery adds to the growing list of ways in which sharks benefit ecosystems worldwide. In seagrass communities in particular, countless other creatures depend on the presence of sharks.
“Seagrasses form the foundation for many near-shore marine ecosystems,” lead author Aaron Wirsing told Discovery News. This is the case in Western Australia’s Shark Bay, where seagrass is “nourishing and sheltering a host of invertebrates and fishes that, in turn, support top predators like sharks.”
Wirsing, a researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University, and his colleagues studied how the presence of tiger sharks specifically affected the feedings of dugongs — large aquatic mammals that somewhat resemble their manatee relatives.
Dugongs spend much of their day chewing on seagrass.
Through catch, tag and release methods, the scientists, working under the auspices of the Shark Bay Ecosystem Research Project, calculated tiger shark predation rates on dugongs. They focused their efforts on tiger sharks at least 10 feet long, as these adults would be large enough to take on a chunky dugong.
The gentle herbivores prefer to eat segrass in the middle of patches. Growth is lush there and packs more of a nutritional punch due to the presence of extra organic carbon. Escaping from hungry sharks is difficult from these interior areas, however.
Wirsing and his team found that when large tiger sharks were around, dugongs instead chose to feed around seagrass meadow edges. The grass is not as tasty or nutritious at the edges, but the location allows escape to deeper water if predators are near.
By indirectly controlling where dugongs feed, tiger sharks keep the seagrass mowed down at all areas.
“Dugong grazing can certainly hold seagrass growth in check,” Wirsing explained.
If left unchecked, however, the herbivores would simply eat all of the seagrass.
Fishes’ fear of sharks helps shape shallow reef habitats in the Pacific, according to new research. The study is the first clear case of sharks altering a coral reef ecosystem through an indirect effect – creating an atmosphere of fear that shifts where herbivores feed and seaweeds grow: here.
Researchers report that shark species have evolved diverse physical attributes to help them thrive in different ocean ecosystems: here.