Mantas of the Maldives - An Introduction (part 1)
Despite the worldwide distribution of manta rays (Manta alfredi) in tropical and subtropical regions, there is very little published information on their biology or ecology. Knowledge of the abundance of mantas and their migration patterns is essential to guide conservation efforts, and the first stage in any study is a method to identify individuals. In mantas, each individual has a characteristic pattern of dark markings on the ventral side. The seminar will teach what pattern to look to identify rays down to the individual. Manta rays are a major attraction for tourist divers and snorkelers in the Republic of Maldives. Based on surveys of experienced divers and tourists carried out at manta viewing dive sites, the manta-related touristic activity was estimated to be worth about US$8.1 million per year in direct revenue. The growth of manta ray watching has provided support for both research and conservation in the Maldives. However, there are indications that, at the most popular manta dive sites, the large numbers of visiting divers and snorkelers may be having a negative impact on manta numbers; the seminar will discuss responsible practices to follow while viewing mantas: preventing disturbances will help keep a healthy population of rays in the Maldives.
Part 1: Mantas of the world – An introduction to mantas general biology, life-cycle and behaviour
Part 2: Mantas of the Maldives Abundance and Distribution
Part 3: Q&A Session
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