(This is a peer reviewed publication in the open access journal PeerJ. Written in collaboration with MWSRP and University of York.) Background The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is known to aggregate in a number of coastal locations globally, however what causes these aggregations to form where they do is largely unknown. This study examines whether […]
“Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) typically aggregate in response to seasonal increases in prey abundance, with phytoplankton blooms as well as fish and coral spawning events attracting large numbers of sharks. However, the whale sharks of South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area (SAMPA) show extraordinary site fidelity, with a predictable year round population and no seasonal […]
“Rhincodon typus is a large filter feeding elasmobranch that aggregates in shallow coastal waters such as the South Ari atoll Marine Protected Area (S.A. MPA) in the Maldives. They are known to travel large distances, however little is known about what causes these movements throughout the oceans and into aggregation sites. This study aims to […]
By video analyzing each whale shark encounter in South Ari and recording tourist and whale shark behaviour underwater, results suggest a low tourist compliance to regulations. The results obtained and the different management measures recommended, have the potential to improve our understanding of whale shark ecology and the management in South Ari MPA.
Globally, the marine wildlife tourism industry has been growing exponentially over the past years, raising concerns regarding its sustainability. This research has found that a larger effort for cross-stakeholder communication, collaboration and education does have the potential to make whale shark tours a more enjoyable experience for both tourists and whale sharks.
This study examines the bathymetry in areas R. typus aggregation events occur, with the aim to understand whether bathymetry influences aggregations. The research carried out shows there are similarities in bathymetry between aggregation sites, significantly different from other coastal areas within R. typus’ global range. This study concludes that bathymetry does influence Rhincodon typus aggregations […]
The aim of this study is to provide a data basis, on which a concept for a more sustainable form of tourism could be developed. This study investigated if disturbance factors, caused by human activities, such as the number of people in the water, the number of boats nearby the shark or the shark-boat distance […]
This study looks at two key aggregation sites in the Republic of Maldives to assess what are the primary factors that influence whale shark ‘site fidelity’. At the South Ari MPA, whale sharks predictably occur all year round, whereas at Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, whale sharks predictably aggregate only during the southwest monsoon season
The MWSRP was honoured to attend the 4th International Whale Shark Conference in Doha between 16-18 May 2016. Generously hosted by the state of Qatar, through the Ministry of Environment, and its partners Maersk Oil Qatar and the Qatar Whale Shark Research Project the event bought together over 100 whale shark researchers from across the […]
An interesting first assessment of the validity of using an associative host to assess behaviour in whale sharks. This completely non-invasive approach explores a subjective observation based on the overarching hypothesis the MWSRP holds for why whale sharks use the South Ari atoll Marine Protected Area as an aggregation site. This dissertation was conducted by […]