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Multisensory integration in shark feeding behaviors
Jayne Gardiner

Nurse sharks are abundant, demersal sharks found throughout the year in shallow waters of tropical Florida and the Caribbean.  Nurse sharks feed on or near the bottom and in rocky and reef areas on fishes, mollusks and crustaceans (Castro 2000) and can lie motionless on the bottom for extended periods of time.  They are suction feeders (Motta et al. 2002) with a well-developed olfactory apparatus.  It was once believed that this species could locate food using olfaction alone, through chemical gradient searching (Hodgson and Mathewson, 1971; Mathewson and Hodgson, 1972) however Kleerekoper et al. (1975) found that nurse sharks need flowing water to provide a directional vector.  I am examining the striking preferences of intact animals as they are presented with spatially separate sources of olfactory, mechanical and electrical stimuli, as well as the effect of sensory lesions on the kinematics of the capture of live prey.