Manta rays, stingrays and reef sharks are just a few of the diverse species that live in the clear waters of Ningaloo Reef - a habitat also used for fishing and tourism. Join researchers in their quest to collect ecological data to protect these important waters.
In Coral Bay, manta rays and reef sharks are a major tourism attraction, drawing increasing numbers of visitors to the area. However, coastal development and insufficient regulations on recreational fishing and tourism are putting pressure on the reef ecosystem and the marine life that depends on it.
By joining this expedition, you will contribute to the collection of critical information on the habitat use, movement and behaviour of manta rays, which will help to improve the management and protection of this species. You will also gather data on the impact of tourism and other human activities on other elasmobranchs, including numerous species of benthic ray and reef sharks.
As a volunteer, you will snorkel to capture photos of manta rays, identify and process images on the manta identification database, identify locations of manta cleaning stations and record their usage, conduct biodiversity surveys on these stations, conduct shark counts, and observe the health of the overall marine ecosystem.
This project is the next phase of Project Manta, which has been collecting data on manta rays in the east and west coast of Australia since 2005. Both data sets have now collected 700 individual mantas identified from the east and 800 from the west. As a volunteer, you will be building on this database and knowledge to support more informed decision making on managing manta rays and the overall marine ecosystem.
Tasks will vary seasonally, depending on the abundance of each species, but manta rays will be seen on all expeditions.
To be eligible for the expedition as a snorkeller, participants must get a medical clearance from their doctor. Your expedition co-ordinator will send you a Doctor’s Signature form for your doctor to sign.