A research team from University of Guam Sea Grant, the Micronesian Conservation Coalition, Conservation International, Manta Trust, and the Department of Agriculture has started a manta ray tagging project in hopes of collecting data on the movements, habitats, and social patterns of the local manta ray population.
“We recently had the first cross-island migration of a manta ray in the region,” said lead researcher Julie Hartup of the Micronesian Conservation Coalition. “It is really exciting to be able to track more of that kind of movement.”
Researchers will be attaching digital tracking tags to manta rays over the course of July. The public is encouraged to be respectful of known manta sites during this time and to stay distanced from any manta rays that may be tagged.
“People may think that the tags are fishing line or something else, but they are very important to the research we are doing, and we ask that community members please refrain from touching them,” Hartup said.
The tags will be removed from the manta rays at the conclusion of the study.
This research project is funded in part by UOG Sea Grant. UOG Sea Grant is one of 34 programs within the National Sea Grant College Program—a partnership among universities and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that seeks to enhance the practical use and conservation of coastal and marine resources to create a sustainable economy and environment. (PR)