Spatial and temporal characteristics of whale shark and manta aggregations in the Western Caribbean & Gulf of Mexico
A project of Wildlife Conservation Society in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
|Name||Species||Life Stage||Release Date||Last Location||Days Transmitted|
|Ek-ha (water star)||Whale Shark||Undetermined||2010-09-08||2010-10-07||29|
|Tzotz-Ha (water bat)||Whale Shark||Adult||2010-09-08||2010-12-31||114|
|La Pirata||Whale Shark||Adult||2010-09-08||2011-01-15||129|
|Luna-ha (water moon)||Whale Shark||Adult||2010-09-08||2010-12-31||114|
|La MO-R||Manta Ray||Adult||2010-09-08||2010-12-31||114|
|Mukuy-Ha (water dove)||Manta Ray||n/a||2010-09-08||2010-12-31||114|
|Chimay-Ha (water frigate)||Manta Ray||Juvenile||2010-09-08||2010-12-31||114|
|Nikte Ha (Flor de agua or Water Flower)||Manta Ray||Adult||2010-07-20||2010-07-24||4|
|Lakam Xoc (giant fish)||Whale Shark||Juvenile||2010-09-08||2011-03-23||196|
|Chich-ha (water bird)||Manta Ray||Adult||2010-09-08||2011-02-16||161|
Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.
Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) and manta rays (Manta spp.)represent some of the most iconic species of fish worldwide and yet only recently are their patterns of movement becoming known. Whale shark and manta site fidelity and movements in relation to ephemeral food sources and a host of environmental factors are being elucidated through a long term and multi-partner project named the MarineMeganet. The Western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico possess several aggregations of whale sharks and a large aggregation of manta rays as well as a range of other species of ocean giants that gather seasonally to feed. Although there are no targeted fisheries for the world's largest fish and ray in this region, their large and predictable aggregations remain at risk from ship strikes, uncontrolled tourism and, in the case of the whale shark, the capture of its food source (eg fish that produce the spawn that whale sharks feed on).
To better understand aggregation dynamics of whale sharks and manta rays we are investigating their patterns of movement in relation to ephemeral food pulses and anthropogenic threats by deploying satellite location only tags that will provide near real time tracking information to inform the management and conservation of these species.
Partners for this project include the Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas of Mexico(Dr. Francisco Remolina), The Department of Fisheries in Belize(Beverly Wade and James Azueta), the Centro de Investigaciones de Ecosistemas Costeros of Cuba (Dr. Fabian Pina), Deep Blue in Utila Honduras(Steve Fox), University of Southern Mississippi in Louisiana, USA(Dr. Eric Hoffmayer)and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the US(Emma Hickerson and Marissa Nuttall).
This Project is supported by the Summit Foundation, and several donors who wish to remain anonymous.