Manta Project

Population Structure and Conservation of Oceanic Manta Rays in the Indo-Pacific

Oceanic manta rays, a poorly understood, charismatic marine megafauna, are under increasingly intense fishing pressures around the world. One of several species of Mobulid rays whose gill rakers have recently been adopted as a remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine, manta rays are targeted in developing countries such as Sri Lanka and Indonesia for the feathery appendages that allow them to strain zooplankton from seawater. Thousands of mantas are being caught and killed each year, and due to extremely low reproductive rates, populations are unlikely to sustain high levels of exploitation. On the other hand, it has been shown that ecotourism directed towards manta rays has a far greater economic return for coastal communities than the gill raker trade.


  • Identify population structure of oceanic manta rays in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
  • Identify migratory corridors, critical habitats, and geographic range of oceanic manta subpopulations, as well as extent of connectivity between subpopulations.
  • Identify trophic level and resource use through stable isotope analysis.
  • Develop conservation strategies for oceanic manta rays.
  • Encourage local, regional and international protection for oceanic manta rays.

Manta Project Proposal PDF

Population Structure and Conservation of Oceanic Manta Rays in the Indo-Pacific
A Scripps Institution of Oceanography collaborative research project.

Photography by Guy Stevens, The Manta Trust  and Sean Heinrichs, Manta Ray of Hope.

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