Under the “Patreon” scheme’s wide-ranging payment plans, donors are promised “unprecedented access” to the MMF team’s latest findings prior to publication. They will also be able to follow researchers via livestreams and regular updates, and have priority access to join MMF expeditions to locations such as Galapagos or Komodo National Park.

There are five tiers of patron and levels of access – from “Penguins” paying US $3 or more a month; through “Sea Turtles” ($9); “Manta Rays”, who can adopt a whale shark ($49); “Whale Sharks”, who can name one ($99); and “Double Whale Sharks”.

The latter will be expected to contribute around $2400 a year or more (they merit a personal acknowledgment on the team’s publications).