Whale sharks are one of the most iconic species in the world. As the largest fish, people are so captivated by their sight that they will travel thousands of miles just to get a glimpse of them in the wild. However, these sharks are also Endangered according to the IUCN Red List and you might be surprised to know that there isn’t much known about these amazing fish. Especially, their population sizes and where they like to go.
A paper led by Jennifer McKinney estimated the population size and connectivity of the whale shark population in the Western And Central Atlantic Ocean (WSA) using software that identified individual whale sharks by the spots on their backs.
I discuss how the pattern of spots on whale sharks in images taken by citizen scientists can be used to identify individual sharks and contribute to the scientific study.
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