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/ A roundup of recommended Web sites

Be My Chum

August 24, 2000|ROBERT BURNS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Pity the shark.

Quacky claims about the curative powers of its cartilage and the growing demand for its fins for soup are sending shark populations plunging.

So before our fine-toothed friends are overfished into history, we thought it would be a good idea to go surfing with them. Try not to look like a seal.

To start off, we'll remind you that, although sometimes you eat the shark, sometimes the shark eats you. The Florida Museum of Natural History has the International Shark Attack File at

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/isaf/isaf.htm. You can find a map of confirmed unprovoked shark attacks that shows the United States once again rules with 755 attacks (including Hawaii). Go USA! Those wimpy Euros have had only 35. Go deeper and you can see how many attacks by state and county.

News stories of recent shark attacks can be found at

http://www.freeusa.net/sharks.htm.

Still want more? Some graphic attack photos can be found at the Shark Archives (http://www.cyberpathic.com) and at the Sharks Pool

(http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/canopy/3018).

Descriptions of dangerous shark species (as well as harmless and weird species) are at All About Sharks at http://www.ozemail.com.au/~bilsons/SHARKS.htm. Although the site is Australia-oriented, it's got good worldwide information.

But enough about lunch. There are a lot of fans out there putting up Web sites dedicated to the understanding and preservation of sharks.

Fiona's Shark Mania (http://www.oceanstar.com/shark) is a great all-purpose shark site, with shark news, shark links and even sharks in literature. It's also got downloadable graphics. There's shark art from Richard Ellis, including the rare and bizarre goblin shark and the Greenland shark. One captured specimen of Greenland shark had an entire reindeer in its stomach. Santa needs to be careful on those water landings.

The more studious can try ReefQuest Expeditions Shark Research Program at http://www.reefquest.com. The site is run by marine biologists Rick and Anne Martin. Be sure to check out David Fleetham's shark photos.

For information on great whites in California and some really gory photos of seals and sea lions that will no longer be contributing to their gene pools, visit Doug Long's page at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebrates/Doug/shark.html.

PBS' Nova Online (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sharks) has much that is sharky. There's a clickable shark to learn facts and functions of various body parts and Q&As with experts.

To entertain your own little remora, you can go to the Discovery Channel's tribute to Shark Week (Aug. 13-20) at

http://www.discovery.com/stories/nature/sharkweek2000/sharkweek2000.html. The 3-D tanks are great, but we're suckers for gimmicks. Last year's Shark Week feature is also up at

http://www.discovery.com/stories/nature/sharkweek99/sharkweek99.html. This one will interest both fans of sharks and of nuclear weapons, because its focus is on life returning to the Bikini Atoll, site of nuclear bomb tests. Also at Discovery is the Super Shark Adventure

at http://kids.discovery.com/KIDS/adv_sharks.html.

National Geographic has the Shark Surfari online quiz at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/features/97/sharks.

SeaWorld has a dry but extensive collection of data at http://www.seaworld.org/sharks/pageone.html.

A small fry primer on sharks is at Enchanted Learning (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/sharks/allabout). Shark Friends (http://www.sharkfriends.com) is allegedly kid-oriented, but the home page art is the most horrific thing we've seen on any shark page.

Finally, we'll leave you with some info about the largest shark in the world, the whale shark. Known as gentle giants, these plankton-eaters can get to be 40 feet long. No one knows how long they live, but it is thought to be more than 100 years. There's info about them at many of the shark sites listed above. You can find FAQs from the Shark Research Institute at http://www.sharks.org. Some impressive photos from Jurgen Freund are at http://www.scubayogi.de/whaleshark.html.

That should be enough to chew on.

*

Got a topic you'd like us to explore or avoid? E-mail click.here@latimes.com.

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