INDO UPDATE 4 – MANTA TALKS & YEARLING ID´S
IN OUR BLOG CATEGORY “INDO UPDATE”, JANIS FROM THE MMF TEAM IN INDONESIA GIVES AN INSIGHT INTO THEIR WORK WHICH IS CURRENTLY FINANCED BY OUR MANTAHARI PROJECT. IN THE FOURTH ISSUE, JANIS REPORTS ON LAST MONTH IN INDONESIA. ENJOY READING
Hello Mantahari Community! I know it's only been a month, but this past month has felt like forever! And… December has arrived. Feels a bit surreal, don't you think? Anyway…
This month has been epic! We started the month with several manta and turtle dives, both in Manta Point and Manta Bay. We haven't been to Manta Bay, the manta ray feeding ground, and a potential nursery ground, in a while, so it was really great to look for smaller manta rays! After keeping our eyes out on the water, we finally found several tiny mantas swimming along the Nusa Penida steep coastline. Lucky for us, with a swell that wasn't too big, we were able to jump into the water and capture some ID-shots! I managed to get a rough measurement on one (it's trickier keeping up with the swimming rays while freediving) and it was ca. 1.5m, which means it was born within the last year – a yearling! Oh, and Manta Point has been, I can't believe I'm about to say this... Crystal clear. If anyone has been to Manta Point, they would know how murky the conditions can get… But it was definitely different this time. Although there weren't a lot of manta rays, approximately 3-5 individuals, during the crystal clear dives, the 30+ meters visibility and semi-warm waters were enough to spoil ourselves.
Besides fieldwork, we have had several outreach opportunities, both online and in-person!!! The last in-person manta talk we had was back in March 2020, so being able to share about manta rays in the same room as other people this time felt so energizing and wholesome! We are definitely looking forward to more in-person presentations in the future! In addition, both Ellie and I got the chance to do online presentations on several different topics, including microplastics and megafauna, megafauna research using spatial approaches, and megafauna research using citizen science. Being able to share the work we do and just marine conservation in general with other people is always such a pleasure to do.
With all the data on hand, I see a lot of data processing in our future. I am also troubleshooting the stereo-photogrammetry measuring techniques with help from international collaborators. Ellie is in the final stages of a paper on Komodo's mantas that she has worked on since 2019 as part of her PhD thesis, which we hope will be published early next year (fins crossed!).
So that is the news on MMF Indonesia HQ lately. We're looking forward to more dive days and gearing up for welcoming students from Udayana University for our 7th microplastics collection session during the rainy-season Indonesia. Once again, thank you to Mantahari Oceancare for supporting our activities! For more updates regarding our projects, follow us on Facebook (MMF Global; MMF SE Asia
We hope you enjoyed this edition of the Indo Update, we look forward to your feedback!