A fundamental reason for establishing the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center (WSORC) was to increase the presence and availability of researchers in Honduras to work with Rhincodon typus, the Whale Shark. Utila has long been known as a "hot-spot" for Whale Shark activity due to it's proximity to the Continental Shelf and strong upwelling currents, however up until now serious research has been sporadic at best.
With the wealth of natural resources found on or surrounding the island, independent researchers are drawn to Utila from all over the world - which leads us to the next impetus for establishing the Center. More often than not, data or results from research have not made their way back into the hands of the local government. This has made conservation/preservation and management of the country's natural resources virtually impossible to accomplish.
Not surprising, there has been a noted lack of communication historically between research groups, which has often led to overlapping studies being performed by multiple entities. In an effort to combat both of these issues, WSORC applied for and has been granted (by the Honduran governmental Department of Digepesca), one of the only permits on Utila which allows research within Honduran waters. Under the terms of this permit, WSORC becomes a clearing house for environmental data/findings, ensuring that the information makes its way to the correct Honduran governmental agency. Also, by offering the umbrella of our research permit to visiting scientists, we hope to decrease projects of an overlapping nature.
Whale sharks aren't the only object of research that can be found here on Utila… Options range from artificial marine habitat studies (placement of reef balls), mangrove restoration projects, fisheries stock enhancement, to studies on local marine invertebrates. If you are interested in researching a topic not listed above, our Center will do its utmost to accommodate your request. If you're as excited as we are about exploring the untapped natural resources surrounding this beautiful island, and would like specific details for your research needs, please contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
10/24/2012: Whale Shark Migration more >>
09/27/2012: Guided Snorkel Tours more >>
07/05/2011: 54 souls, mostly new faces, braved the storm last night to pack the Utila Lodge Bar for Jon's weekly whale shark presentation. Thanks to everyone, especially Shawn and Kate Boyer from Miami who adopted a whale shark, for coming out... more >>Join mailing list >>