07 February 2006

From star-gazing to whale-watching

Another in an occasional series of great little science stories. Recommended this week is:

"Whale sharks can be identified using astronomical star pattern recognition program."

I just can't resist a story involving the application of the lessons or techniques of one discipline to another. "“This is an example of space technology finding an important application here on Earth," said Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian of the Universities Space Research Association and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. What great name for a scientist, too.

Whale sharks, by the way, are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, meaning the development of a handy biometrics tool could help keep the species around. I wrote a brief overview of whale sharks and their ecology here.

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