Whale sharks amaze with their deep sea dives

June 18th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 18 (IANS) In a first, two scientists have recorded how whale sharks undertake an amazing dive and descend into the deep sea to conserve energy. Murdoch University scientist Brad Norman described how the dynamic bounding “flight” of the world’s biggest fish contrasts with its reputation as a slow, surface cruiser.

The researchers discovered the whale sharks’ double life while recording their actions on electronic monitors in May.

The pair - who have worked together since 2006 - have been able to record the giant creatures’ every swimming action in minute detail.

Norman said the new recordings reveal how and where the whale sharks feed and breed, enabling those areas to be protected from human activity and pollution.

“This research offers us an incredible window into how they live and what they do when out of our sight,” he said. “This information will be vital in helping protect this magnificent, but threatened species.”

The collaborative research is being supported by Australian basketball champion Luc Longley who lent his 20 metre long vessel to the project.

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