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Whale Sharks Protected From...Deadly Swimmers?
By Wendy Heller, December 26, 2007 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Discovery.com

The 5,100 images represent the most extensive photo survey ever conducted of whale sharks, with nearly 10 times more data than any other previous study. Marine scientist Brad Norman took many of the photographs himself while swimming alongside the 20-ton ocean giants, which can be over 65 feet long.

"It really is a privilege to be able to swim alongside the largest fish in the ocean, given the fact that this species is so rare and vulnerable to extinction," Norman told Discovery News. "They are so graceful -- a true gentle giant. And it's not only the great length that is awesome, it's also their girth. Literally the size of a bus underwater!"

Norman and computer programmer colleague Jason Holmberg are both members of ECOCEAN, a research, education and conservation organization. They, along with NASA astronomer Zaven Arzoumanian, teamed up for the project, which used Hubble space telescope software to analyze the sharks.

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