Sharks get kind of a bad rap, and people are often scared to go in the ocean because of them. In fact, sharks are usually seen as the 'bad guys' of the ocean, but sharks are actually very important to the ocean ecosystem. (An ecosystem includes all living things - plants and animals - in a given area like the ocean.) Here are just a few of the reasons that sharks are friends of Daisy and Otto:
Sharks keep food webs in check.
Like we mentioned earlier, sharks play a huge role in the ocean ecosystem. They are responsible for keeping prey populations under control. Sharks prey on things like fish and marine mammals, and without sharks keeping things in check, the number of fish and marine mammals would be out of control. While having more cute fish and marine mammals in the water seems like a good idea at first, their increased numbers could be a bad thing. They would eventually eat too many of the smaller fish and run out of food, before dying off themselves. This is why we need sharks to keep the ocean's food chain balanced and healthy.
Sharks can keep carbon out of the ocean and the air.
Carbon is an element in the cycle of life. In fact, we are made of carbon. You are made of carbon. Everything living on this Earth - past and present - is made of carbon. Even the dinosaurs! And when animals and plants die, that carbon can be released into the world instead of passed on to the next plant or animal in the food chain. Luckily, sharks aren't ones to pass up a free meal. They often eat the carcasses of already dead animals, keeping the carbon cycling through the ocean.
We can learn a lot from sharks.
Did you know that sharks are older than trees? That's right! Before the first ever tree grew from the soil, sharks were swimming in the ocean. They've been here a lot longer than we have, and during that time, they've evolved into something incredible. There's a lot we have to learn from sharks - from how they move to how they keep from getting sick!
Sharks are NOT 'maneaters'.
Sharks can get big. REAL big, and they can have very sharp teeth. They also don't have arms, like you do, so to learn about the world around them, they often use their mouths - similar to the way human babies do. Unfortunately for us (and for the sharks), a shark's bite causes a lot more damage than a human baby bite, and because of this, many people are afraid of sharks. In reality, when sharks 'attack' humans - it is out of curiosity, and they aren't trying to hurt us.
It's important to remember, though, that while sharks are our friends, and we shouldn't be afraid of them, they do need to be respected and given their space. If you happen to find a shark in the wild, it's best to keep your distance, so everybody - humans and sharks - stay safe.