Hanifaru August 2009
Thanks to the kind sponsorship by Doug Seifert, Anne-Marie and Dr Csilla Ari were able to conduct 10 days worth of research at the shallow lagoon in the east of Baa atoll where large numbers of manta congregate to feed during the SW monsoon (June to November). Specific research was conducted at the deep cleaning station to investigate the reaction of mantas towards colour boards. We are still reviewing the results but we must admit to getting surprising results with mantas not reacting as expected! We are intending to continue the research during the August 2010 research trip.
We were able to identify over 160 new mantas. This information contributes to current research projects on migration and population estimation.
We were fortunate enough to observe up to 70 mantas at a time echelon feeding (in lines) as can be seen in above photo. It was possible to get very close to the mantas as they seemed preoccupied with feeding activity.
On one day we had two juvenile whalesharks in the lagoon. One had damage to its dorsal fin probably caused by a boat collision.