Australian scientists target manta ray mysteries

Date: 1/6/2007

A team of University of Queensland scientists joined forces with industry and government partners to launch a comprehensive study of manta rays. Project Manta will detail manta ray populations, their behaviours, feeding patterns, movements, migrations using observations and satellite imagery and will identify individuals via DNA and photographic analysis. The research will focuses on the population of manta rays along the eastern seaboard of Australia and includes Moreton Bay and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Many local divers and snorkellers, some with 20 years of diving photos, will be involved in creating an image database to identify manta rays. Understanding the feeding activities, movements and migrations in relation to oceanic conditions will allow the scientists to use this highly visible species as a biological indicator of ecosystem impacts resulting from climate change.

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