During a two-month commercial fishing expedition in early 2012, California graduate student Paul Clerkin studied the many weird sharks a massive trawler plucked from the deep sea. The ship was in the Indian Ocean, bringing up fish from a depth of about 6,500 feet (2,000 meters). The large gulper shark pictured above was one of Clerkin's favorites, he said.
It's likely this ghost shark is a new species. The sharks have large pectoral fins and live very deep in the ocean.
Another ghost shark. Notice the curved spine emerging from its back, near the fish's head.
The large trawler ship that was Clerkin's home for two months. The vessel hit some rough waters in the Indian Ocean.
Small cat sharks, potentially a new species.
The trawler picked up more than 30 false catsharks, pictured above. These large, pointy-faced sharks are thought to be rare, but Clerkin said he's not so sure that's accurate. It's likely humans haven't often fished the deep waters where these sharks live.
A ghost shark. In the place of teeth, the fish have wide bony plates, lending them a goofy mouth shape that resembles that of a bucktoothed rabbit.
A long, narrow shark with a strange mouth.
A small, deep-sea shark, brought up from seamounts in the Indian Ocean.