Georgia Aquarium Blog

Georgia Aquarium provides an entertaining, engaging and educational experience inspiring stewardship in conservation, research and the appreciation for the animal world. Visit us at www.georgiaaquarium.org.



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Tuesday
Jul312012

Whale shark research and conservation


July 31, 2012 

Whale Shark Research & Conservation

Georgia Aquarium's Director of Conservation and Research Shares Mexico Experience

Provided by: Dr. Al Dove via Deep Sea News 
Director of Research and Conservation at Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium has been involved in whale shark research since 2005. Though we know a lot about this species, many things are still a mystery. Our Director of Research and Conservation, Dr. Al Dove, was recently in Mexico to conduct field research on whale sharks during their unique gathering around the Yucatan Peninsula. They will be returning again in two weeks to continue their research. Best of luck to Dr. Al Dove and his team as they try to unravel the mysteries of this gentle giant. Below are some pictures and facts from his trip. Read more at Deep Sea News.

Aerial survey early in the trip. This shot looks from the hotel zone to the northwest and includes at the bottom the (troubled) lagoon next to the hotel zone.

Photo by: Dr. Al Dove 

Aerial view of eddies, a mark of where the current and swell mix, while on their flight. They were able to find this the next day by boat.

Photo by: Dr. Al Dove

Dr. Al Dove and his team noted the impact of shipping vessels for the risk that these ships pose to the offshore or afuera whale shark aggregation. These ships ply the same waters as the whale sharks and, were one of them to hit the aggregation, the impact could be disastrous.

 Blue diving - The descent into the blue without any reference points on the bottom (both disorienting and liberating). 

Photo by: Dr. Al Dove

No whale sharks yet, but they found some interesting neighbors on their dive. This is a spot winged comb jelly.

Photo by: Dr. Al Dove

This neighbor is someone you don't want following too closely! Dr. Al Dove ran into a barracuda during his quest.

Photo by: Dr. Al Dove

This is an interesting green algae that is unusual in that it incorporates limestone into its tissues. Consequently, it can make up whole banks or reefs, as in this case.

 

Photo by: Dr. Al Dove

This is a batfish, walking along on its "elbows."

Photo by Dr. Al Dove

Whale sharks' mouths can be up to four feet wide! Dr. Al Dove and his team continue their search for whale sharks to learn more about these amazing animals.

 Picture courtesy of  R. de la Parra

Dr. Dove and his team spotted a school of cownose rays during their dive.

Last up, two videos: crevalle jacks at 65 ft east of Isla Mujeres, and for dolphin fans, some Tursiops (bottlenose dolphins) they saw north of Isla Contoy.

  

 For full story, visit Deep Sea News.

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