Tiger sharks are undoubtedly one of the most recognizable megafauna that humans come into contact with in the ocean. Researchers recently discovered that tiger sharks have new formed at least two genetically distinct groups in both the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific basins. They found this by comparing the genomes of 242 tiger sharks from various locations around the world. The marine biologists focused on specific genetic markers on their genome and contrasted the differences. One of the authors expected that in the future, the differentiations in their genomes may lead to speciation.
And while these sharks are generalist predators, their numbers are dwindling from the fin trade and commercial fishing. This is causing them to be listed as a Near Threatened species according to the IUCN. However, studying their genomes may help conservationists develop fishery policies to protect the sharks in each of the areas. Since these "homebody" sharks don't tend to migrate to reproduce as once thought, their habitats in each area can be protected and managed separately. The researchers hope to use these methods to investigate other species of sharks as well.