Like human fingerprints, whale sharks have a unique pattern of spots which allow individual sharks to be identified. By taking photos and cataloguing them, WWF has identified 458 different whale sharks in the Philippines.
The third original member in Ecocean.org is Zaven Arzoumanian, Director and President. Mr. Arzoumanian is the key to the whale shark “fingerprint” ID. A scientist at NASA, and a fan of the whale shark, he was able to adapt a pattern matching application used at NASA to identify stars. This adaptaion is what allows Ecocean. org to analyze spots on the whale shark for identification.
This process is now used around the world and is a principal source of whale shark research. Number of sharks in the library=4218. Number of total encounters in the library=21,826.