ABOUT THE SPECIES
Reef manta rays are the gentle giants of coral reefs. Growing to have wingspans of up to four metres wide, they glide and somersault gracefully through the water as they feed on tiny zooplankton. These charismatic animals also have the largest brain-to-body mass ratios of any fish! Reef manta rays are currently listed as Vulnerable because fisheries aiming to supply the demand for manta ray gill plates have caused global population sizes to decline drastically in recent decades. By protecting reef manta rays and the sites that they visit, we can ensure that their populations will continue to exist for generations to come. Image courtesy of Lauren Peel/The Manta Trust.
ABOUT THE ORGANISATION
I use a variety of research techniques to monitor the population size and movement patterns of reef manta rays. Each reef manta ray has a unique pattern of black spots on its belly, so I use photographs of these spots to identify individuals and count how many mantas are around. I also use electronic tags to monitor where reef manta rays go and where they spend their time. By combining all of this information, I can monitor the size of reef manta ray populations, highlight the areas that individuals visit frequently, and help to develop plans to protect this iconic species.
You can vote for the Manta Trust and the Reef manta ray at The ANiMOZ Aussie Wildlife Vote 2020 right here!