Sunday, August 11, 2013

Color can prevent shark attack

shark repellent suitand boardA Western Australian company has used pioneering research by leading University of WA shark experts to develop wetsuits designed to confuse sharks or render surfers invisible to the predators. The world-first shark repellent suits are based on discoveries by Associate Professor Nathan Hart and Winthrop Professor Shaun Collin, from UWA's Oceans Institute and School of Animal Biology, about how predatory sharks see and detect prey. The suits use a specific combination of colours and patterns to deter the creatures. One design — known as the ‘cryptic' wetsuit — allows the wearer to effectively blend with background colours in the water, making it difficult for a shark to detect or focus on the wearer. The other design — the ‘warning' wetsuit — makes the user appear highly visible by using disruptive and high contrast banding patterns to make them appear totally unlike any normal prey, or even as an unpalatable or dangerous option. The designs also come in the form of stickers for the undersides of surfboards. While the company Shark Attack Mitigation Systems could not claim the suits were a failsafe protection against shark attacks, results from initial testing of the wetsuits in the ocean with wild sharks had been ‘extraordinary'.

Original article: UWA science leads to world-first anti-shark suits

See also Why are animals colourful? Sex and violence, seeing and signals