Manta Trust

Manta Trust @mantatrust

As a charity, we co-ordinate global efforts to research & conserve mobulid rays & their habitats. Spaces available on our 'Manta Passion' Expedition

Photo by @s.hilbourne For a few incredible moments this lucky free diver shares the glass-clear waters of the Maldives with a graceful reef manta ray.⠀ ⠀ Encounters like this are so special and exciting, it's no wonder that manta tourism is estimated to make over US$140 million a year! More and more people are travelling the world hoping to share the water with these gentle, filter-feeding giants and this a great thing as it raises the value of a live manta to more than that of a dead one. Manta tourism, when managed well, can provide vital income for local communities, fund conservation and scientific research and engage people with the oceans.⠀ ⠀ This can also benefit many other important marine species that are perhaps less well known or exciting. Manta rays are what we call charismatic mega-fauna; Acting as flagship species, they help to promote and engage the general public in the wider message of marine ecosystem conservation.⠀ ⠀ #mantaray #manta #conservation #maldives #underwaterphotography #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #underwater #marinelife #diving #freedive #travel #adventure #ecotourism #photography #vitaminsea
Photo by Guy Stevens. A reef manta feeds over the lush, green seagrass beds of St Joseph Atoll, it's pectoral fin showing signs of injury from a predatory attack or boat propeller. Amirantes, Seychelles.⠀ ⠀ The manta ray’s speed, coupled with their flattened shape, helps to protect against predators which find it hard to bite hold of the mantas in an area of the body which contains vital organs. However they aren't without predators as there are some marine species large enough to tackle them such as tiger sharks, bull sharks and orca. ⠀ ⠀ Manta rays lucky enough to survive encounters with these formidable hunters are sometimes sustain nasty injuries, but they have incredible healing ability. Many individuals which have been observed with fresh wounds are sighted again months, or years, later having completely healed from their injuries. Flesh wounds which remove portions of the posterior section of the pectoral fins can also recover remarkably quickly, with large sections of missing flesh able to regenerate with scar tissue to fill back in the missing portion of wing over the years. However, severe bites which cut deep into the manta’s body, removing whole sections or ends of the pectoral fins, will never allow regeneration of cartilaginous tissue in these areas, leaving the mantas with major disfigurements.⠀ ⠀ #mantaray #manta #seychelles #mantatrust #shark #tigershark #bullshark #orca #underwaterphotography #predators #oceans #seagrass #healing #travel #scuba #diving #photography
Photo by @s.hilbourne A line of feeding mantas form dramatic black shapes against the turquoise waters of Baa Atoll.⠀ ⠀ This beautiful aerial shot shows perfectly the size of manta rays compared to humans; One of the manta team, carefully approaching these feeding rays from the side, is dwarfed by these reef mantas which can reach up to 4.5m from wing-tip to wing-tip... and these are the 'little guys' as their close relations, oceanic mantas, can reach up to 7m across!⠀ ⠀ It was only discovered as recently as 2009 that there are two distinct species of manta rays. This separation was based on a number of morphological features as well as differences in habitats and behaviour. Genetic work is continuing to further define the true nature of this separation.⠀ ⠀ #mantarays #manta #ocean #conservation #maldives #baaatoll #travel #mantatrust #reefmanta #oceanicmanta #research #vitaminsea #drone #dronephotography #photography #birdseyeview
Photo by Guy Stevens. Three juvenile golden trevalleys add the perfect splash of complementary colour to an ocean blue pallet in Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Manta rays are often spotted with some tiny companions hovering beneath them. These cheeky little fish ride the pressure waves in front of a manta’s head and use the cover of a gentle giants as protection whilst they are small and vulnerable. Once they grow large enough to survive by themselves, golden trevalleys leave the shelter of their big flappy friend to join shoals of adult trevalley.⠀ ⠀ #mantaray #manta #mantatrust #fish #ocean #maldives #blue #underwaterphotography #photography #travel #colour
Photo by Guy Stevens. The white cephalic fins and gills of a feeding reef manta form abstract shapes against the black waters of Fesdu Lagoon at night. Ari Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ This huge, gaping mouth is the gateway to oblivion for the tiny plankton on which manta rays feed... but what are plankton? ⠀ Well plankton are defined as weak swimming or drifting micro-organisms in the open ocean but this encapsulates a huge variety of different species. Plankton species are divided into two main groups: phytoplankton which are plants, such as algae, that produce their own food through photosynthesis, and zooplankton which are all animals.⠀ ⠀ Many marine species are only plankton for part of their lifecycle, for example most coral reef fish larvae drift around as part of the planktonic soup until they mature into adults. All plankton are tiny but zooplankton are generally much larger than phytoplankton, and so it is this food source which the manta rays, and other large marine filter feeders such as the whale shark and basking shark, feed upon. Plankton may be tiny but they are hugely important, forming the foundation of marine food webs and producing around 70% of the oxygen in our atmosphere!⠀ ⠀ #smallbutmighty #mantaray #manta #mantatrust #nightdive #night #mouth #plankton #travel #dive #scubadive #oceans #maldives #gentlegiants #blackandwhite #underwaterphotography #oxygen
Photo by Guy Stevens. An oceanic manta ray slices through a sea of trigger fish at Rasdhoo Madivaru, Rasdu Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Ever heard of microbeads? They are tiny plastic particles that are added to products like toothpaste and body scrubs to aid exfoliation. When washed down the drain they inevitably end up in the oceans where these tiny beads cause BIG problems! ⠀ ⠀ Acting like a sponge, they soak up all manner of chemicals and then these toxic little beads are ingested by microscopic creatures at the bottom of the food chain; plankton. Plankton is consumed by all manner of marine life, big and small, and in this way microbeads work their way up the ocean's trophic levels. Smaller animals will only absorb a small dose of toxic chemicals; but when a big predator eats lots of small prey then they end up absorbing much higher doses of toxins. This process is known as bioaccumulation and means that large marine species like sharks, whales and of course manta rays are at high risk of chronic poisoning, even if environmental levels of toxin are not very high.⠀ ⠀ So it's great to hear this week that the UK government has announced microbeads will be banned from all production and sale in Britain this year!⠀ ⠀ #mantaray #manta #maldives #microbeads #plasticpollution #banthebead #plasticnotfantastic #marine #oceans #underwaterphotography #plastic #fish #triggerfish #travel #gentlegiants #mantatrust
Photo by the Mexican Caribbean Manta Ray Project. This season's volunteers have arrived and are ready for action!⠀ ⠀ They are off to a good start having already sighting their first manta and whale shark and have been helping out at local dog shelter. This summer the volunteers are also going to work in collaboration with the local sea turtle sanctuary and community to increase awareness of the importance of the sea turtles in the marine ecosystems; assisting during hatching season at the nearby nesting beach to ensure that as many baby turtles make it to the ocean as possible.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ The Mexican Caribbean Manta Ray Project has collaborated with @5gyres who have kindly provided equipment to trawl for micro plastics. By studying the local manta population and collecting micro plastics for analysis at the end of the summer, the team hope to learn more about the effects of micro plastic accumulation on manta rays; not only in the Mexican Caribbean but all over the world.⠀ ⠀ We can't wait to hear how they get on... what a handsome bunch!⠀ ⠀ #mexicancaribbeanmantarayproject #mexicancaribbean #mantaray #mantatrust #manta #volunteers #seaturtles #caribbeansea #gulfofmexico #marineconservation #conservation #plasticpollution #plastic #pollution #microplastics #research #scientificresearch #dogs #turtles #oceans #streetart #hatchlings #dreamteam
Photo by Guy Stevens. Capturing a spectacular view from the eye of the storm; peering through a curtain of tiny fish to the swirling feeding cyclone of enormous manta rays beyond at Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, Maldives.⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ When plankton levels get very high in special areas like Hanifaru Bay, manta rays occasionally adopt a cooperative feeding strategy known as 'cyclone feeding'. By swimming close together in a tight spiral they create their own current and a vortex forms in the eye of the cyclone; plankton is dragged into the vortex and hungry mantas will literally suck it into their gaping mouths as they rush past in a feeding frenzy!⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ Want to experience incredible manta feeding first hand? There are still places available on this October's 'Manta Passion' expedition in the Maldives. If you love mantas and want to spend 10 days diving with them, helping Manta Trust experts with real scientific research and living in luxury on a beautiful 33m boat on the open ocean then check out the link in our bio for more information on how to book!⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ #mantatrust #mantaray #manta #mantapassion #maldives #travel #adventure #cyclone #eyeofthestorm #oceans #marinelife #plankton #underwaterphotography #underwateradventures #bucketlist #yolo #adventuretime #vitaminsea #sea #hanifaru #conservation #marineconservation #gentlegiants #scuba #scubadiving
Photo by Guy Stevens. The biggest fish in the world cruising down the ocean runway modelling bold and beautiful spots and posing for the cameras.⠀ ⠀ It's Shark Awareness Day and we want to spread some shark love! Did you know that one in four shark and ray species is facing an increased threat of extinction due primarily to overfishing? One thing we can all do to help is to buy only sustainably sourced seafood or to simply avoid seafood entirely. But there is more...⠀ ⠀ You can help to save sharks and rays by visiting them in the wild using a responsible tourist operator. Shark and ray tourism is on the rise globally and when managed well, can be a powerful conservation tool, increasing the value of a live animal to more than that of a dead one. Ecotourism can provide vital income for local communities, fund conservation and scientific research and engage people with the oceans. However if managed poorly, tourism can have a hugely negative impact on wildlife. So if you are planning an underwater adventure it is good to know what to look for in a tour operator and how you should behave when in the water with sharks and rays. We have collaborated with the WWF and Project Aware to create guidelines for best practice which can be found on our website, check them out!⠀ ⠀ #sharkawarenessday #whaleshark #shark #love #lovesharks #spots #ocean #conservation #mantaray #manta #overfishing #seafood #travel #holiday #scubadiving #diving #ecotourism #wwf #projectaware #mantatrust #marineconservation #adventure
Photo by Guy Stevens. A filter-feeding frenzy at Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Manta rays are perfectly adapted to the rhythm of the ocean; their daily and seasonal movements tuned completely to the ebb and flow of the oceans currents that bear their planktonic food.⠀ ⠀ In the Maldives mantas migrate back and forth across the Atolls with the changing seasons, chasing hotspots in productivity of zooplankton. Straddling the Indian Ocean, the Maldivian Atolls act as a barrier, forcing monsoonal currents upwards as they flow across the Indian Ocean. Deepwater upwellings are created around the atolls channelling nutrient rich water to the surface and within reach of the sun’s life giving energy, kick starting the food chain. By the time these currents reach the leeward sides of atolls, they bring enough of zooplankton to support the world’s largest known population of reef manta rays all year around. ⠀ ⠀ #mantamonday #mantaray #manta #maldives #hanifaru #feedingfrenzy #underwaterphotography #oceangiants #gentlegiants #filterfeeding #planktivores #mantatrust #ocean #underwater #adventure #travel #monday #mondayblues #plankton
Photo by Guy Stevens. A spotted eagle ray cruises past, flashing it's unmistakable black and white markings as it's pectoral fins beat up and down. Laamu Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Most scuba divers will instantly recognise this handsome fish as a spotted eagle ray, though many people may know it better as Mr Ray from Finding Nemo. The striking markings on a spotted eagle ray's back are reminiscent of a starry night sky and make them easy to recognise. Gliding through the ocean in search of crustaceans, whelks and mollusks to prey on, they can grow quite large, occasionally as wide as 3m. Like mantas, they are members of the Myliobatidae family, most of which swim high in the water column rather than close to the ocean floor.⠀ ⠀ #spottedeagleray #eagleray #mrray #findingnemo #findingdory #mantaray #mantatrust #manta #ocean #marinelife #marinebiology #ray #stars #nightsky #laamuatoll #maldives #scubadiving #diving #scuba #underwaterphotography
Photo by Guy Stevens. A graceful oceanic manta ray glides overhead, it's devil horn-like cephalic fins leading the way. Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Have you heard? A new study claims that manta rays are no longer a thing; That our flappy-friends are simply large mobula rays, and should not have their own genus. It's worth noting that it's not just the mantas... the whole mobula genus is in disarray too, with uncertainty about whether certain pairs of mobulas are actually the same species. Getting this stuff right is important and needs rigorous investigation. It's not just because we scientists like things to be tidy and organised, but because taxonomy can have tangible and significant consequences on the conservation of species.⠀ ⠀ There is still so much to learn about these mysterious creatures!⠀ ⠀ #mantaray #mobularay #devilray #mysterious #ocean
We are delighted to publicly announce our partnership with Swiss luxury watch manufacturers, @carlfbucherer . They have created a limited edition series of bespoke Manta Trust dive watches, with part of the proceeds financing our latest research into the feeding ecology of the Maldivian mantas. The more we can find out about these gentle giants, the more we can do to protect them and the habitats on which they depend. And for once, time is on our side!⠀ ⠀ Find out more by visiting⠀ ⠀ #watchmymanta #carlfbucherer #mantatime #timetosavemantas #mantaray #manta #ocean #conservation #watch #divewatch #scuba #scubadiving #diving #marineconservation #science #maldives
Photo by Conny Paul. A feeding chain of manta rays dance past divers like a conga line at an underwater party in the stunning blue waters of Ari Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Are you obsessed with mantas? Do you never tire of diving with these gentle giants? Does your heart beat faster every time a manta swims above your head? Do you dream about spending hours and hours with these majestic creatures, while actively helping protect them and learn more about their mysterious lives? Then October's "Manta Passion" expedition is MADE FOR YOU!⠀ ⠀ Join Manta Trust experts on a mission to find manta feeding aggregations in Ari Atoll in the Maldives and experience the wonder of immersing yourself amongst a feeding frenzy of these gentle giants. Guests will even get the opportunity to participate in cutting edge conservation research to protect one of the ocean’s most majestic animals. ⠀ ⠀ For more information contact expeditions⠀ ⠀ #mantapassion #expeditions #epicadventures #mantarays #maldives #manta #feedingchain #obsessed #scuba #scubadiving #diving #underwaterphotography #mantatrust #gentlegiants #adventuretime #adventure #travel #ocean #holiday #conservation #marinelife #marineconservation #vitaminsea #conga
Photo by @beths_gone_diving Beth is caught in the curious gaze of one of the resident green sea turtles at Laamu Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Like manta rays, sea turtles are extremely charismatic marine creatures that can immediately elevate an average dive to a truly magical experience. ⠀ ⠀ This handsome face belongs to Davina, one of two green sea turtles spotted regularly by the Laamu team on a specific coral bommie at Hithadoo Corner. Beth say they often appear to 'squabble' over the best place to rest, reminding her of her parents competing for the best sofa at home. So when she was offered the chance to name the two turtles Beth called one Cathy after her mum and the other David after her dad. Soon after it was discovered that both turtles were female and so David became Davina.⠀ ⠀ @sixsenseslaamu @oceandimensions #seaturtle #greenseaturtle #mantatrust #mantaray #maldives #coralreef #oceans #closeup #portrait #animalportrait #marinelife #closeencounters #scubadiving #diving #sixsenseslaamu #oceandimensions #parents
We are teaming up with @leonardodicapriofdn to protect our oceans! Want to help? Buy a limited edition t-shirt or sweater, only available through July 5th, via the link in our bio. All proceeds will benefit ocean conservation work including our Global Mobulid Conservation Programme (GMCP).⠀ ⠀ Manta rays and their smaller cousins mobula rays (or as we like to call them mini mantas) belong to the mobulid family. The GMCP, which was launched in 2014, has already greatly furthered our understanding of mobulids and has played a key role in improving the conservation status of these vulnerable rays. Over the next two years the primary goal of the GMCP is to reduce global fishing pressure on mobulid rays.⠀ ⠀ #mantarays #mobularays #minimantas #leonardodicaprio #leonardodicapriofoundation #oceanconservation #oceans #tshirts #ecofashion #maldives #beach #mantatrust #conservation #marineconservation
Video by @lisarandale An enchanting encounter with short-fin pygmy devil rays on Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Forget flash mobs... flash mobulas are where it's at! Some great news this week from Lisa, one of our Project Managers in the Maldives, that mobula ray sightings are booming at the moment on Lhaviyani Atoll.⠀ ⠀ Many mobula rays are very shy in nature, but short-fin pygmy devil rays seem to be quite inquisitive, choosing to venture close at times to take a closer look at divers. These little mini-mantas reach a maximum of just over one meter in width and filter feed on plankton and small fish. Mobula rays have an extremely low reproduction rate, giving birth to a single pup at a time every two to three years; their gestation period is about a year. This of course leaves them vulnerable to exploitation as they simply cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with commercial fishing.⠀ ⠀ If you have any pictures or videos of mobula rays in the Maldives, and you know the date and location in which they were taken please do send them in to us as they could help with ongoing research on sighting numbers and locations. @hurawalhi #LoveMiniMantas #flashmobula #flashmob #maldives #enchanting #magicalencounters #mobularays #devilrays #minimantas #diving #ocean #blue #closeencounters #mantatrust
Photo by Guy Stevens. Guy comes face to face with a rare and stunning black morph manta ray in Roca Partida, Mexico.⠀ ⠀ Most manta rays are of the chevron colour morph; mostly black on top with a white belly and black spots beneath. Rarer though, is the dramatic black morph manta. These ninja rays are completely black on top and mostly black beneath too with only a few white spots on their belly. There are black morphs of both oceanic and reef mantas but the 'black' gene is thought to be recessive as they only make up around 25-30% of the manta population where the gene is present.⠀ ⠀ In some populations, such as the mantas of the Maldives, this 'black' gene appears to be completely absent, with every one of the estimated 5,000 reef mantas in the population being a chevron morph. Whereas at the remote islands of Socorro and San Benedicto, west of Mexico, a higher percentage of these giant black mantas can be found than anywhere else in the world.⠀ ⠀ #blackmorphmanta #mantaray #blackmanta #stealthbomber #manta #ocean #oceangiants #gentlegiants #marine #black #underwaterphotography #deep #blue #mexico #closeup #mantamonday #monday #chevron
Photo by Guy Stevens. An oceanic manta ray ascends with its pectoral fins spread wide, dwarfing the scuba divers scattered around it. Fuvamullah Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Here comes the weekend! Rising majestically from the depths like a giant friendly manta ray, ready to put a smile on everyone's face. It was only discovered as recently as 2008 that what we call a manta ray is actually two distinct species with unique behaviours and lifestyles: oceanic and reef mantas. ⠀ ⠀ Oceanics are the larger of the two species reaching dimensions of up to 7 meters from wing tip to wing tip and weighing as much as 2 tonnes! Both species live pelagic lives in the open ocean, visiting reefs to feed and be cleaned. However, oceanic mantas have the wider geographic range, occurring in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters.⠀ ⠀ #oceanicmantaray #mantaray #weekend #fridayfeeling #oceangiants #gentlegiants #maldives #underwaterphotography #ocean
Photo by @beths_gone_diving A handsome young male manta cruises past Beth's camera ready for his close up!⠀ ⠀ The team at Laamu Atoll have been working this week to process the nine new IDs collected after the discovery of a new cleaning station a fortnight ago.⠀ ⠀ Every manta encounter is different because, like us, individual manta rays respond differently in a situation. Some are shy and quickly leave or keep their distance when they encounter divers or snorkelers, whilst others are just as inquisitive as the humans watching them. There's nothing quite like that moment of connection when a curious manta ray circles closer and closer, taking you in fully and looking you straight in the eyes.⠀ ⠀ #laamuatoll #maldives #mantaray #closeup #oceans #closeencounters #magicalmoments @sixsenseslaamu @oceandimensions