Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean. They can grow to over 12 meters in length. Most people think of them as Pacific or Atlantic ocean residents. But they range throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico. Surprisingly, they are often found close to the Mississippi and Alabama coast. Divers often spot them in Flower Gardens Banks Marine National Sanctuary, where they are possibly attracted by the mass spawning of corals.They usually swim slowly to feed as they filter plankton from the water. Dr. Eric Hoffmayer of the University of Southern Mississippi is currently conducting research on the effects of the BP drilling disaster on marine life.With over 7,000,000 gallons of oil now in the Gulf, how many whale sharks are struggling to breath of find untainted food on which to survive?