Reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) are large and seasonally abundant plankton feeding elasmobranchs occurring in the waters of the lagoon of Mayotte (Comoros archipelago, SW Indian Ocean). However, their abundance, movements and ecology are poorly documented in this region. Reef manta rays are highly charismatic, economically important for tourism and diving, but are known to decline throughout their range.
This project will aim at investigating the abundance, distribution, horizontal and vertical movements, and trophic ecology of reef manta rays in the lagoon of Mayotte using a combination of methods, including aerial surveys (using drones), satellite tagging, prey sampling, and stable isotope analyses.
This research will help to understand the relative importance of the waters of Mayotte for this species in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and will help to generate management recommendations for this species at the local and regional levels in the light of the threats this species is facing, particularly bycatch and disturbance from tourism.
For more information on this project contact Dr. Jeremy Kiszka.