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, behaviour 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, 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.
Introduction / Alistair D.M. Dove and Simon J. Pierce
Chapter 1. How and why is the whale shark the world’s largest fish? / Alistair D.M. Dove, Mark G. Meekan, and Craig McClain
Chapter 2. Whale shark reproduction, growth, and demography / Simon J. Pierce, Sebastián A. Pardo, Chris A. Rohner, Rui Matsumoto, Kiyomi Murakumo, Ryo Nozu, Alistair D.M. Dove, Cameron Perry, and Mark G. Meekan
Chapter 3. Whale shark sensory biology and neuroanatomy / Kara E. Yopak and Emily E. Peele
Chapter 4. Parasites and other associates of whale sharks / Alistair D.M. Dove and David P. Robinson
Chapter 5. Population genetic structure of whale sharks / Jennifer V. Schmidt
Chapter 6. Whale shark movements and migrations / Alex R. Hearn, Jonathan R. Green, Cesar R. Peñaherrera, Samantha Reynolds, Christoph A. Rohner, Marlon Roman, and Ana M.M. Sequeira
Chapter 7. Population ecology of whale sharks / Christoph A. Rohner, Bradley M. Norman, Samantha Reynolds, Gonzalo Araujo, Jason Holmberg, and Simon J. Pierce
Chapter 8. Whale shark foraging, feeding, and diet / Christoph A. Rohner and Clare E. Prebble
Chapter 9. Lessons from care of whale sharks in public aquariums / Alistair D.M. Dove, Rui Matsumoto, Christian Schreiber, Christopher Coco, Makio Yanagisawa, Tonya Clauss, Lisa Hoopes, and Keiichi Sato
Chapter 10. Whale shark tourism as an incentive-based conservation approach / Jackie Zeigler and Philip Dearden
Chapter 11. Global threats to whale sharks / David Rowat, Freya Womersley, Bradley M. Norman, and Simon J. Pierce
Chapter 12. Conservation of whale sharks / Simon J. Pierce, Molly K. Grace, and Gonzalo Araujo
Chapter 13. Outstanding questions in whale shark research and conservation / David Rowat, David P. Robinson, Alistair D. M. Dove, Gonzalo Araujo, Tonya Clauss, Christopher Coco, Philip Dearden, Molly K. Grace, Jonathan R. Green, Alex R. Hearn, Jason Holmberg, Lisa Hoopes, Rui Matsumoto, Craig McClain, Mark G. Meekan, Kiyomi Murakumo, Bradley M. Norman, Ryo Nozu, Sebástian A. Pardo, Emily E. Peele, César R. Peñaherrera Palma, Cameron Perry, Clare E. Prebble, Samantha Reynolds, Marlon Román, Christoph A. Rohner, Keiichi Sato, Jennifer V. Schmidt, Christian Schreiber, Ana M. M. Sequeira, Freya Womersley, Makio Yanagisawa, Kara E. Yopak, Jackie Ziegler, and Simon J. Pierce
Alistair D.M. Dove, PhD, is a broadly trained marine biologist and currently Vice President of Science and Education at Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, USA, where he oversees international research programs on whale sharks, manta rays, coral reefs, sharks and dolphins. Alistair graduated from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia with a B.Sc. Honours first class in 1995 and a PhD in Microbiology and Parasitology in 1999, for which he was awarded a University Medal and Dean’s List commendation. His early research focus was on parasites and diseases in freshwater and marine environments, but after a period studying diseases of lobsters, he began focusing on the biology and ecology of whale sharks after moving to Georgia Aquarium in 2006.
Simon J. Pierce, PhD, is a co-founder and Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation, where he leads the global whale shark research and conservation program. Simon is also a Co-Chair for the Sub-Equatorial Africa region within the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, a Science Advisor to the Wildbook for Whale Sharks global database, and a founding board member of the Sawfish Conservation Society. Simon holds a BSc in Ecology from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, and a BSc (Hons, 1st Class) and doctoral degree in marine biology from The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Simon began working with whale sharks in Mozambique in 2005, and now leads or collaborates on conservation biology and population ecology research programs across the world.