In a testament to the incredible amount of computing power now available to non-commercial organizations these days, ECOCEAN has started a website that allows amateurs to upload photos of whale sharks to their system and almost instantly view data on that exact shark.  The system makes use of a technology developed by NASA for use with the Hubble Telescope.  According to the organization, the spots on whale sharks can be used to uniquely identify each shark, and the supercomputer behind it can very quickly determine if the pattern is a match for any other photos in the database.  This system is being adapted for use on other species and might one day prove useful in storing information on different coral morphs and species.  “Citizen Science” as it is referred to by National Geographic will undoubtedly prove to be yet another tool for learning more about biological patterns and assist with conservation activities.

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