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PLOS Science Wednesday: Hi Reddit, my name is Pedro Afonso and I recently published a paper in PLOS ONE that showed changes in sea surface temperature can predict whale shark habitat use patterns – Ask
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Hi Reddit, My name is Pedro Afonso, and I am a senior researcher at the Institute of Marine Research and MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, both based at the University of the Azores. I recently published a paper in PLOS ONE entitled “Dynamics of Whale Shark Occurrence at Their Fringe Oceanic Habitat”, where we investigated the patterns of occurrence of whale sharks over the mid north Atlantic ridge. Using 16 years of observational data from a pole-and-line fishery across the Azores and GAM models, we investigated the spatial and temporal patterns of whale shark occurrence in relation to oceanographic features. Our study found that whale shark sightings in this oceanic region increased sharply in 2008, and that sea surface temperature helps predict whale shark occurrence in the region. Our research also showed that the Azores are at a thermal boundary for whale sharks, which can help explain the post-2007 increase in sightings and has further implications in the face of climate change. I will be taking questions at 1pm ET – Ask Me Anything!