Alaska isn’t a favorable place for sharks to live, as its chilling waters make it difficult for most fish to survive. Of the three shark species found here, the salmon shark inhabiting the Prince William Sound off the Gulf of Alaska is the most familiar. Alaska’s salmon fisheries commonly catch them. They resemble the great white shark – a miniature version of the mighty great white. The Pacific sleeper shark, the biggest of the three, is sluggish and rarely seen since it is difficult to catch. The 3-feet long spiny dogfish, the smallest, is common around the Yakutat area.
Dr. Ken Goldman of the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game has had expertise in researching shark species in Alaska for several decades. He mentions that sharks have called Alaskan waters their home for over 10 million years. Yet, little is known about them due to the lack of a proper population estimate.
List of the Different Types of Sharks in Alaska
|Pacific Sleeper Shark||12-15 feet||Not aggressive|
|Spiny Dogfish||2.5-3.5 feet||Not aggressive (due to their small size)|
|Salmon Shark||8-10 feet||Not aggressive|
|Bluntnose Sixgill Shark||15-20 feet||Moderately aggressive (rarely target humans, reports of just one provoked attack)|
|Great White Shark||11-16 feet||Highly aggressive|
|Blue Shark||6-11 feet||Not aggressive|
|Basking Shark||23-30 feet||Not aggressive|
|Thresher Shark||10-18 feet||Not aggressive|
1. Are there great white sharks in Alaska?
2. Are shark attacks common in Alaska?
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.