Our research expedition aims to conduct focused research in South Africa as we are short on information about the giant manta rays distribution and habits in this region.
The expedition will take place during the sardine run, a mass spawning event of sardines that attracts predators including manta rays because of its biological significance in terms of feeding. We aim to deploy satellite tags onto giant manta rays and collect ID data on both giant and reef manta rays in order to increase our understanding on population dynamics and interactions in the entire southern east African coastal region.
Understanding the connectivity in manta ray populations between Mozambican and South African waters is crucial to securing the populations protection in the wider region. This expedition is particularly exciting as we plan to be in the field during the visually and biologically explosive sardine run and we will be using a microlight to aid spotting the animals.
Data analysis from satellite tags and ID information on both species of manta ray will provide essential information on the movement of manta rays through the entire region. Understanding the habits and movements of mantas is key to understanding and regulating activities that impact local populations, for instance in Mozambique, and therefore, the population at large.