Moon phases influence shark attacks: LSU researcher

Bull shark
Photo credit Michael Geyer/Getty Images

The next time you want to impress your friends during shark Wweek you can tell them that shark attacks are related to lunar phases. New research from LSU and the University of Florida compared attacks with the lunar phases, and researchers say there appears to be a connection.

“In certain places in certain times there were in fact more shark attacks during phases that were closer to the full moon and fewer shark attacks during phases that were closer to the new moon,” said LSU Associate Professor Steve Midway.

Midway says even though very few shark attacks occur in U.S. waters they wanted to gain a better understanding of why and when they happen. Midway says the moon’s influence on attacks is not from illumination because the vast majority of incidents take place during the day.

“But the moon exerts an influence on the earth and its oceans by way of tides, by way of electromagnet fields,” said Midway.

And while it’s still too early to determine if the moon is the predominant influencer of shark attacks, Midway says he still advises against swimming in shark-infested waters no matter what lunar phase.

“However, that effect could really be marginal compared to the number of people in the water, or the time of day you’re swimming, or any of the other factors that we have much more confidence about being related to shark attacks,” said Midway.

Click here to read the entire paper in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Michael Geyer/Getty Images