Protecting the Ocean's Giants: The Future of Manta Ray Conservation

WED, APR 15, 2015 (45:52)

Manta rays are one of the most charismatic marine species on the planet, and a top attraction for dive and snorkel tourism. Despite their popularity with the public, we know almost nothing about these enormous, enigmatic rays. As targeted fisheries around the world increasingly threaten manta populations, conservation scientists are racing to learn more about their fundamental ecology to support effective conservation and management action. Learn more about the biology and ecology of these graceful ocean giants, the fisheries that threaten their existence and the research and conservation efforts currently underway to keep these icons around to inspire future generations.

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

+ BIO: Josh Stewart

As a marine biologist and an underwater videographer, Josh has studied and filmed mantas around the world. For his degree in marine biology, Josh spent several years studying coral recruitment on historic shipwrecks in the Dominican Republic. It was during one of these projects that he saw his first manta ray, and was instantly taken by the beauty and grace of these amazing animals.

As a Rolex Scholar, Josh spent a year travelling the world, working with leading filmmakers, biologists and conservationists to gain a current, real-world perspective on the most pressing marine conservation issues of our day. Despite working with other charismatic megafauna such as great white sharks, Josh was drawn to mantas once again after his time in the Maldives, and is now dedicated to understanding and protecting these amazing creatures.

Josh has filmed for National Geographic and Animal Planet, as well as producing a number of independent documentaries and video shorts, one of which earned him the Australian Geographic Spirit of Adventure Award in 2010. He is currently a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and is being supported by a National Science Foundation Fellowship for his research on manta rays.

(Photo: Manta Trust)

New England Aquarium