Manta Matcher – Citizen Science Conservation

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Did you know you can directly contribute to Manta ray conservation just by taking a photo of a manta ray during your dive? Yup, its true! No professional science training or qualification needed! In fact, regular people play a huge role in Manta conservation worldwide – all you need to do is just take a photo and upload it to Manta Matcher!

Manta Matcher is a global online database of manta sightings worldwide. Every manta ray has a unique pattern of markings and spots on its underbelly. This unique pattern is similar to a fingerprint and allows individual mantas to be identified, recognized and tracked. Scientists have come up with an algorithm similar to the one NASA uses to map stars, to identify manta ray individuals using these unique markings.

To contribute to this growing online database of manta sighting worldwide, you just need to take a photo of a Manta’s underbelly. The picture needs to show the unique spotting pattern clearly. If you are SCUBA diving, this is relatively easy, as mantas are quite inquisitive and will often come and swim right on top of you! By staying stationary and placing yourself directly below a manta ray, you are lining yourself up to be in the perfect spot to take an excellent manta ID photo. Once you have your identification photo, you can go straight to www.mantamatcher.org and upload the photo directly onto their database.

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Even if you don’t have professional UW camera equipment, any photo can be uploaded onto the database as long as the spots can be clearly identified. You can even upload frame grabs from a video. Each contribution is significant. Even if you only manage to capture and upload single manta ID photo during your dive holiday, you’re helping contribute to manta research and conservation efforts worldwide.

Once an individual Manta ray is identified and put into the worldwide catalog of sightings, scientists are able track this individuals movements, monitor population trends, better understand manta migration, assess threats to the species and focus on developing more efficient management and conservation plans.. How cool!

Whats even cooler is that if you supply Manta Matcher with your email, they will notify you if your specific Manta has been spotted again anywhere in the world!

So next time you find yourself diving or snorkeling with manta rays and a camera in hand, be sure to try and take manta ID photo.

‘Manta Matcher – Citizen Science Conservation’ was written by Etoile. Read more interesting articles by Etoile at www.GoingEpicPlaces.com & be sure to check out her Facebook page.

Photo credit: MantaMatcher & US Dive Travel

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