Whale Sharks Tracked Using Groth Star-Mapping Algorithm

Posted on August 12, 2020

The Groth algorithm is a pattern-matching algorithm created by Princeton University physics professor Edward J. Groth. It is used by the Hubble Space Telescope to map complex star fields. This same algorithm is also being used to monitor whale sharks by recording the unique patterns of white spotted marks on their bodies.

The markings on whale sharks are known as "geger lintang," which means "stars in the back" in Japanese. The Groth algorithm can help identify individual whale sharks when numerous photographs are analyzed.

The photographs are kept in a database called the Wildbook for Whale Sharks. Researchers and divers contribute new photos to the library regularly.

You can read more about how the Groth algorithm is used to track whale sharks and potentially other wildlife on Nasa.gov.

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