Image Credit: NeilsPhotography
We came across an awesome scientific research study on juvenile whale sharks!
It’s given us (well, and researchers) new insight about the deep dive movements of whale sharks which were previously unknown. Cool, right?
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE on July 30, 2014, highlighted the movements of whale sharks tagged at the Saudi Arabian Red Sea site during 2009’s fieldwork. At this time, research teams from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries developed a report with their findings.
They came across hundreds of juvenile whale sharks gathering together on coral reefs near Al-Lith on the central coast!
By using three types of satellite-transmitting tags to track the movements of 47 whale sharks, researchers found amazing diving data:
- the sharks made frequent deep dives to at least 500 meters (1,640 feet)
- three of the tagged sharks made excursions below 1,000 meters (3,281 feet)
- a maximum-recorded dive depth of 1,360 meters (4,462 feet) was reached
With our oceans under threat from climate change, pollution and over fishing, understanding these gentle giants is vital in order to protect them long term.