Manta Research

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manta-trust-logoConservation through Research, Awareness and Education

There is little known about the lives of Manta Rays, but thanks to a handful of people, that is changing. This week we had Julie Hartup on island who is Manta Trust’s Guam-based Micronesia and Marianas Islands project leader.

She is working with Mark Deakos Ph.D. with the Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research on identifying a new manta ray behavior as part of her own research project.

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Yap is Micronesia’s, and arguably the world’s, manta ray hotspot that provides researchers like Julie and Mark a playground to uncover the secret lives of these resident rays.

Bill supports her conservation efforts with a free-of-charge open door policy and a Yap Divers boat fleet blank check creating a research center right here in Yap.

Mantas are spotted all over this island by divers, fisherman even beach goers. Julie is making it her life’s work to find out what they do, where and why while testing her own scientific theories.

IMG_9373This is an effort that will eventually help predict when and why mantas move around in order to ensure their protection and preservation.

Research isn’t all fun and games, even if it means you’re diving Yap for a week.

Half of their days were spent idling around the lagoon looking for surface activity in areas where we don’t dive and people don’t fish. Rays were spotted backflipping over the outer reef in the Philippine Sea, breaching in the channels near cleaning stations and transiting deep water in and out of the blue.

IMG_5741Data is collected and fed into a custom, relational database that will help to understand patterns of manta ray behavior, individual life histories, and eventually the size and home range of Yap’s reef associated population.

Although Yap is the world’s first government-backed manta ray sanctuary, there are few resources to patrol and enforce every square mile of water. The more information gathered and processed, the better the chance these rays will survive their man-made challenges. Manta populations are especially vulnerable to fishing and “by-catch” deaths due to their slow reproductive and maturation rates.

Get Involved

Be part of the manta ID database by submitting your own belly shots to manta-id@mantaray.com. The tedious work of databasing photos and sighting information is well underway which will eventually allow for robust reporting and tracking to help uncover their mysterious nature and guide conservation efforts.

You can stay updated on Julie’s work with Micronesia’s manta rays through MantaTrust.org and here on our blog with posts from her visits to Yap.

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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly
11:27 21 Mar 18
We stayed at the hotel and dove with Manta Ray divers in early December 2017. The hotel is very comfortable, well run and staffed with wonderful employees. During our visit my wife came down with an illness and the consideration and support from the hotel and dive staff could not have been better.read more
Sandy Stinson
Sandy Stinson
16:03 03 Mar 18
The staff couldn't be more friendly and accommodating. Food is good, (worth upgrading to include all meals). Diving is good too.read more
Alex Divinsky
Alex Divinsky
17:24 01 Jan 18
The best place to stay in Yap. The resort is really nice and clean, the scuba diving is great, and the docked ship that houses the bar, restaurant, and movie screen is very cool. I really enjoyed my stay here.read more
ASALI
ASALI
10:44 01 Jan 18
Offers one of the best accommodation service. It also has a uniquely designed restaurant.
Yi-Hsin Lin
Yi-Hsin Lin
00:53 21 Feb 17
The whole place centers around the scuba diving operation. Probably better to find somewhere else if you're not a diver. The dive operation was generally good, but a little too laid back - schedules weren't always clear, and sometimes would change without any notice. Sometimes it was hard to tell if this was really because of changing tides/weather or because of the island pace of life. Pizza is a surprisingly good option at the restaurant.read more
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