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First Coast Connect

Aquatic Expert To Discuss World's Largest Fish Tonight At UNF

Zac Wolf/Stefan
Wikimedia Commons

A trip to the Georgia Aquarium may be the only chance you have to see the largest fish in the world.It’s the only North American aquarium to display the school bus-sized Whale Shark.

Georgia Aquarium Director of Research and Conservation Dr. Alistair Dove says these animals have been coming “quite close to the coast.”

Dove will speak tonight at UNF’s Adam W. Herbert University Center for a lecture titled “Whale Sharks:  Connecting the Dots,” a discussion informing the public of new behavioral discoveries.

“We’ve been studying a group down in Yucatan, Mexico that can be up to 400 whale sharks in the same place at the same time,” Dove said. “It’s one of the planet’s most amazing biological phenomena.”

Uncommon to their reputation, he explains, is the shark’s uniquely peaceful attributes. The plankton-feeding Whale Shark is not a predator.

Dove’s goal is to engage the public about wild animals and the wonders of the ocean.

“We get this impression that the ocean is all bad news, but it’s not, there’s wonderful stuff still to be discovered,” Dove said.

He encourages people to visit the aquarium in hopes to end what experts call “Nature Deficit Disorder”—children's disconnection from nature.

His discussion will also bring attention to manta rays, a fish popular to the North Florida coast.

Tonight’s event, sponsored by The Brotman Family Coastal Biology Lecture Series and the UNF Coastal Biology Flagship Program, is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. More information is online at

You can follow Scott Harrison on Twitter @Sharrison983.

WJCT News Intern Scott Harrison is a Journalism Major at Flagler College. He also reports for the college's campus news website, The Gargoyle.