Whale Shark Researchers

Whale Shark specialists that have visited Deep Blue and assisted us with our Whale Shark Research studies.

  • Dr. Rachel Graham

      Dr. Rachel Graham, PhD, has been studying whale sharks with the Wildlife Conservation Society since 1998 in the waters of Belize, Cuba, Seychelles, Indonesia Kenya, India Sea of Cortez, Mexico and Madagascar. She has spent over 1,400 hours in the water with whale sharks and has had over 800 encounters with these famous gentle giants; she has been one of the founders of whale shark research in this area.
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    • Eric Hoffmayer, Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

      Dr. Eric Hoffmayer

        Dr. Eric Hoffmayer’s research interests are relatively broad and encompass such areas as essential fish habitat, movement and habitat use patterns, life history, and ecological physiology of fishes. Current funded research projects include the movement patterns and essential fish habitat of dusky and silky sharks in the Gulf of Mexico, the seasonal abundance and distribution of coastal shark species in the north central Gulf of Mexico.
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      • Rafael De La Parra, CONANP

        Rafael De La Parra

          Rafael De La Parra has been instrumental in Whale Shark research in Mexico, he has spent the last few years tagging and working with Whale Sharks at what is believed to be the largest aggregation of Whale Sharks in the world, Holbox, Mexico. Some of Rafael’s findings with the partners he works with have been ‘ground breaking’ and have changed the way researchers look at Whale Sharks and has had many articles and papers published on whale sharks.
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        • Jason Holmberg of ECOOCEAN

          Jason Holmberg

            Jason Holmberg has logged over 8,000 hours of development time on the WildMe.org Whale Shark Photo-identification Library. As Project Architect, he designed and implemented new tools to support digital pattern recognition of Whale Sharks. Using Jason’s tools, the project has been able to categorize and manage large amounts of Whale Shark data and identify individual animals from photos taken by researchers many years apart.
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          • Jennifer McKinney, more than 70 whale shark sightings

            Jennifer McKinney

              Jennifer McKinney came to Deep Blue Resort as a guest in 2005, and was so motivated by her experience that she dedicated herself to studying whale sharks, hoping to both elucidate some of the mysteries surrounding these animals and play a pivotal role in the conservation of the species. She completed her master’s degree in 2010, at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (USM-GCRL).
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            • Isabelle Foisy

                Isabelle worked as manager and data consultant for Utila Whale Shark Research, organizing everything from all entries into the online whale shark database, dealing with customers questions, teaching and giving talks in Utila town and at Deep Blue Resort about whale sharks, she also worked organizing trips for customers and the day to day running of Utila Whale Shark Research.
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              • Jennifer Schmidt, Director of Genetic Studies, Shark Research Institute

                Jennifer V. Schmidt, Ph.D.

                  Jennifer Schmidt's laboratory currently devotes much of its time to studying the genetic control of embryonic development, and designing mouse models for human congenital diseases. She also has a long-standing interest in conservation genetics, particularly of birds and marine animals, and in reproductive behavior.
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                • Matt Potenski, Director of Field Operations for the Shark Research Institute

                  Matt Potenski

                    Matt Potenski has studied whale sharks as a SRI field researcher in the Bay Islands (Honduras), Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Cocos Island (Costa Rica), and Mafia Island (Tanzania) - a joint project with the World Wildlife Fund. He also has led SRI field expeditions and conducted both visual ID and satellite transmitter tagging of whale sharks.
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                  • Suzy Quasnichka, researcher and film maker

                    Suzy Quasnichka

                      Suzy Quasnichka is both a researcher and a film maker and has been involved in both worlds for many years; she is Director of the Shark Research Institute in the U.K. and has worked all over the world with whale sharks and sharks in general.
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                    • Brendal Davis

                      Brendal Davis

                        Brendal Davis' insatiable dedication to sharks, and contagious enthusiasm for every creature in the sea, has made her a strong proponent of furthering conservation and education with Shark Savers.
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