Researchers to tag manta rays this month

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A research team will tag manta rays next month to collect data on the animals’ movements, habitats and social patterns.

The University of Guam Sea Grant is launching the project with the Micronesian Conservation Coalition, Conservation International, Manta Trust and the Department of Agriculture, according to a press release.

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“We recently had the first inter-island migration of a manta ray in the area,” said lead researcher Julie Hartup of the Micronesian Conservation Coalition. “It’s really exciting to be able to follow more of this kind of movement.”

The researchers will attach digital tracking tags to the manta rays and will be removed from the manta rays at the end of the study.

Researchers will attach digital tracking tags to local manta rays in June 2021 at known manta sites and habitats around Guam.  The public is urged to stay away from these manta rays throughout the month.

Pay attention to the manta site and stay away from manta rays, the statement said.

“People may think of the tags as fishing lines or whatever, but they’re very important to the research we’re doing, and we’re asking community members to refrain from touching them,” Hartup said.

Researchers plan to attach beacons to local manta rays and learn more about maximum dive depths, dive times, Argos locations and geolocation of the light level.

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