Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 971–978 | Cite as

Validated age estimates for large white sharks of the northeastern Pacific Ocean: altered perceptions of vertebral growth shed light on complicated bomb Δ14C results

  • Allen H. AndrewsEmail author
  • Lisa A. Kerr


Age validation studies of large shark species using bomb radiocarbon (14C) dating have revealed that the growth of vertebrae can cease in adults. In a previous study of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) of the northeastern Pacific Ocean the latest growth material (leading edge of the corpus calcareum) was assigned a known date-of-formation assumed to coincide with the individual’s date of capture. This perspective prevented the assignment of older years of formation (a shift in age) to this material, leading to complicated results and no validated age estimates. A reanalysis of the bomb 14C data, in light of the recent findings for other species, has led to a validated lifespan estimate exceeding 30 years for white sharks of the northeastern Pacific Ocean.


Bomb radiocarbon dating Longevity Age and growth Vertebrae Validation Carcharodon carcharias Lamniformes Elasmobranch 



Thanks to L. Hamady and L. Natanson for pressing the potential issue of underestimated age for the sharks we reanalyzed in this paper. We thank Gregor Cailliet (Moss Landing Marine Labs), the Los Angeles County Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Sea World San Diego for specimen support. This paper was supported in part by the Pacific Shark Research Center and the National Sea Grant College Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under NOAA Grant #NA06RG0142, project number R/F-190, through the California Sea Grant College Program, and in part by the California State Resources Agency. Thank you to Edward DeMartini for his laser-like editorial and insight and to two anonymous reviewers for helpful and supportive comments. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of any of those organizations. This work was performed, in part, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract No. W-7405-Eng-48.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NOAA Fisheries – PIFSC, Inouye Regional CenterHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Gulf of Maine Research InstitutePortlandUSA

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