Whale sharks are the largest of all fishes, fascinating for comparative studies of all manner of biological fields, including functional anatomy, growth, metabolism, movement ecology, behavior and physiology. These gentle ocean giants have captured the interest of scientists and the imagination of the public, yet their future is uncertain. The conservation status of whale sharks was upgraded to Endangered on the IUCN Red List and the species faces a range of intense threats from human activities. Can these iconic living animals, who have survived for millions of years, survive us?
Written by the world’s leading experts in whale shark biology, ecology, and conservation, Whale Sharks: Biology, Ecology and Conservation is the first definitive volume about the world's biggest fish. Chapters include discussions of satellite-linked tags, used to track whale shark movements; genetic sequencing, to examine evolutionary adaptations; even the use of underwater ultrasound units to investigate the species’ reproduction. The editors hope that by collating what is known, they can make it easier for future researchers, conservationists, and resource managers to fill some of the remaining knowledge gaps, and provide the information they need to join the team.
As you work your way through this book, we hope that you will develop a sense of awe and marvel at all of our good fortune to share the ocean, and the planet, with this utterly extraordinary species.