Biologists film whale shark with radio tracking device attached

Whale sharks are gentle giants that inhabit all warmer oceans around the Earth. They are enormous creatures that inspire awe and wonder, yet we know very little about them. As recently as 2015, scientists have made an effort to change this by attaching satellite tracking devices on the dorsal fins of whale sharks to learn more about them. Scientists and conservationists can now understand their movements and habits, as well as their longevity. It is now clear that these giants travel thousands of kilometers each year to go from feeding to breeding grounds. Powerful swimmers, they are able to maintain a substantial pace for long periods of time. The Galapagos Islands exist in an area of the ocean where three strong currents converge, creating a unique upwelling that brings nutrients and food to the surface from deep below. This attracts smaller fish which attract larger fish, including several species of sharks. The islands here newborns in geological terms, having formed approximately 4 million years ago due to volcanic eruptions that spewed lava upwards from the sea bed. Lava cooled into pillars of rock that jutted out of the ocean, forming what we now know as the Galapagos Islands. Life here is also relatively new, arriving by water, air, or on rafts of vegetation.

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