Manta Ray Research

Ningaloo Marine Interactions lead the way in Manta ray research and conservation in Coral Bay and indeed along the length of Ningaloo through daily collaboration with the leading Manta Ray researcher in WA, our skipper and part owner – Frazer McGregor.

Frazer has been undertaking both informal and formal research on Manta Rays for over ten years now, and is in the final stages of his PhD on the trophic ecology of manta rays at Ningaloo through Murdoch University.

  • Frazers’ work has focussed on several ecological aspects of Manta rays including
  • their population status – how many there actually are, and are their numbers stable!
  • their foraging ecology – how important the reef is as a provider of food!
  • their movements within the Ningaloo Marine Park ,which is one of a handful of protected areas for manta rays, and
  • their behaviours, which indicate how important different locations are to visiting manta rays, and can be used to determine if growth in tourism is having any  negative effect on them.
  • We look forward to seeing Frazers soon to be published papers on the different aspects of his work.
  • Ningaloo Marine Interactions have just become a partner organisation in a major collaborative study on manta rays within Australian and Indonesian waters, and a leading contributor to a component project based at the Coral Bay Research Station – called Project Manta WA
  • As part of this collaboration during each of our tours  (when conditions and the manta rays allow) we participate in the collection of photo identification of Manta Rays, and have managed to positively identify manta rays on nearly 1000 occasions since we joined forces in 2012.

photo id 1

Manta rays have unique markings allowing them to be identified from one another.

  • This contribution has assisted in getting the number of manta rays identified for Coral Bay to a whopping 796 including 438 females and 127 that are an all-black version.
  • Over the coming years Ningaloo Marine Interactions will host manta researchers from across the indo-pacific in an attempt to gain the additional information needed to appropriately mange this magnificent animal.
  • Generous funding by Austral Fisheries has catalysed this collaboration with Murdoch University and the University of Queensland.
  • We also actively support the protection of manta rays across their range and implement all aspects of the DPaW voluntary code of conduct for manta ray interactions during every tour.

a snorkeller obtaining an ID photo

To report manta ray sightings or contribute photographs of manta rays please contact Frazer McGregor

Frazer McGregor
PhD Candidate (Manta Ray Ecology)
Murdoch University Field Station
Coral Bay
Western Australia 6701

k.mcgregor@murdoch.edu.au

W: 08 9948 5136
M: 0427 848 655