Just two days into this year’s expedition and the first acoustic tag has been deployed. Two whale sharks were spotted and one tagged. The small sound-emitting devices allow for researchers to detect and track of fish and can learn more about whale shark behaviour including their migration paths, survival studies as well as observing predatory / prey dynamics and more.

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world. The researchers are tagging the whale sharks to establish when they are present in the Kenyan waters of if they are indeed resident.

The tags transmit a sound signal which sends location information about the tagged fish to the hydrophone receiver. The researcher can calculate the 3D position of the fish by determining the sound’s time of arrival at each hydrophone. Unlike radio tags, which are typically only detected within the first 10 m of the surface, acoustic fish tags detect fish movement up to to ten times further than radio tags. This year’s expedition runs from 20th February to 15th March 2009.

Whale sharks can grow up to 12.2 m. (40 ft.) in length and can weigh up to 13.6 tonnes (15 short tons). Believed to have originated as a species 60 million years ago, the shark is found in tropical oceans and can live for up to 70 years.

The annual expedition is held at the Diani beach in Kenya. This year, Leisure Lodge Beach and Golf Resort is offering favourable rates for those participating in the expedition. So get to South Coast and meet world leading marine videographers and scientists.

This is an annual expedition so mark it on your calendar – happening at the end of February – the beginning of March.

Source by Nyaruita Mwaniki-Gateri

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