Biologists at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs, Mississippi need your help!
The northern Gulf of Mexico is prime whale shark feeding habitat and the peak whale shark season is at hand. Based on their filter feeding behavior and the amount of time they spend at the surface, these sharks may be highly susceptible to impacts from encounters with the oil.
We are trying to document all sightings of whale sharks in the northern Gulf of Mexico at this time and request your support. If you encounter a whale shark, please help by participating in GCRL’s ONLINE WHALE SHARK SIGHTINGS SURVEY. Also, please tell everyone you know about this survey, to ensure all observations are reported.
To Report a Sighting:
Please complete the survey at http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/whaleshark
Information that is helpful to us includes:
- Time and duration of encounter
- Location (GPS coordinates)
- Approximate size and number of sharks
- Observed behavior
- Observed interactions with oil
- Associated species
- Photos/video (especially of the region behind the gill slits on the left side of the animal—this is used for identification)
- Any other distinguishing features (i.e. numbered marker tags located behind the dorsal fin—please notate number)
Your participation is greatly appreciated and critical for us to gain a better understanding of how these sharks are being affected at this time. Thank you.
Now join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whalesharkresearch