Predator Dominated Ecosystem

Galapagos sharks are a common predator in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and a predator to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. The Galapagos shark is found near islands such as Galapagos, Hawai`i, Virgin Islands and Bermuda. It is usually found in water between 16 and 200 feet deep.

One of the most striking aspects to marine life in the northwestern islands is the dominance of large predators, such as sharks and jacks. In the Main Hawaiian Islands, top carnivores represent only 3 percent of the total fish biomass, as a result of heavy fishing. But in the northwestern islands, the big fish consist of 54 percent of all fish biomass.

The Galapagos shark is one of 40 species of shark found in the Hawaiian Islands. The Galapagos grows as long as 12 feet. Dark grey on top and off-white on the bottom with a black tail, the Galapagos are hard to distinguish because of their general shark form. However they do have one distinguishing characteristic: a ridge that runs between their dorsal fins (back fins).

— Jake Bortnick

Paul Koberstein