The waters off the north east coast of Australia remain a mystery to scientists, with little to no data about whale sharks and manta rays in this area. While we know these charismatic plankton feeders have a circumtropical distribution through all tropical and warm temperate seas, we don’t know much about their habitat use, population demography, movement patterns and occurrence on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Coral Sea.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Whale sharks are listed as endangered and manta rays as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The megamouth project aims to determine the significance of the GBR for the sustainability of these species and to identify implications for species management and conservation if whale sharks and manta rays move across international borders into territories where they are still exploited. As biological processes shift due to the changing environment, we could be losing important habitats for these species, or potentially losing these species from sections of the GBR, without knowing they were there.
Adam is shown in the footage above and is one of a handful of people who have swum with a Whale Sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. Adam is the current Australian Free Diver Champion and is based in Cairns.
"Whale Sharks need our help please give generously to help the Run for the Reef Research Team find out why these spectacular creatures have mysteriously reduced in numbers across the planet."