December 5, 2013
Written by: Kerry Gladish,
Research Administration Assistant
Anyone who has been to Georgia Aquarium knows that we pride ourselves on giving each and every guest that comes through our doors a magical and educational experience. We want you to see all of these amazing animals, take in their beauty or strangeness, learn as much as you can about them while you’re here and leave with the thirst to keep learning about the wonders of the aquatic world. But, you may not know how much Georgia Aquarium does for Research and Conservation with the species in our collection. That’s a responsibility we take very seriously and, with a collection like ours, it’s an opportunity we’re determined to make the most of too. One important way we can advance the cause of science is by facilitating discussion and exchange in the science community. Georgia Aquarium is a terrific facility to host scientific meetings, and we just did exactly that recently by hosting the 3rd International Whale Shark Conference, a periodic meeting for exchanging data and ideas on all things related to the world’s largest fish.
When we set out to host the 3rd IWSC, we were definitely a little nervous. The past two conferences were held in Australia in 2005 and in Mexico in 2008. Both of these locations are home to natural populations of whale sharks, which is a pretty ideal setting for a meeting consisting of predominately field research scientists and ecotourism managers. We are, of course, a landlocked aquarium in Georgia. How would these people respond to spending a week in Atlanta talking about whale sharks? As it turns out, pretty well!