A Blacktip reef shark cruises the shallow reefs of a tropical lagoon. (© Kydd Pollock/Marine Photobank)

Editor’s note: Shark Week 2017 kicks off in a couple of days, featuring everything from an Olympian racing a great white to our very own scientist’s exploration of “alien” species. Before you dive in, take a look at six of Human Nature’s most popular shark stories — and scroll down to the end to see our Shark Week Photo Gallery.

shark in Fiji

1. 5 things you didn’t know sharks do for you

Did you know? Sharks help move carbon through the ocean — and they just might be the key to helping scientists cure certain diseases.

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© Shawn Heinrichs

Whale shark watch: 4 things we’ve learned from tracking the world’s largest fish

Conservation International scientists made headlines in 2015 when they launched a ground-breaking whale shark satellite tagging program in Indonesia. Check back here next week for fresh updates.

© Mario Espinoza/University of Costa Rica

3. Expedition to ‘island of sharks’ gathers hundreds of hours of new ocean data

A team of 18 scientists made a 36-hour boat journey from Puntarenas,…