Please select your home edition
Edition
SWC newsletters (top)

Tracking a manta ray named Leo

by NOAA Fisheries 11 Aug 14:27 UTC
Tracking manta ray Leo © Andrea Marshall / Marine Megafauna Foundation

This summer, NOAA Fisheries and the Marine Megafauna Foundation collaborated on manta ray satellite-tagging expeditions in Southeast Florida. These satellite tags will continuously record location, depth, and temperature.

This information will help us understand their movements and habitat preferences so that we can better protect them.

About Leo

On June 11, 2019, researchers successfully photographed, measured, and attached a satellite tag to a young male manta ray. This manta ray is believed to be a juvenile (sexually immature) based on the small size of his claspers. He measured 8 feet from wing tip to wing tip. Adult manta rays can be reach up to 20 feet across. The tagging team decided to name this manta ray "Leo" after the 3 year old son of an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) pilot who provides aerial support to researchers on boats.

Leo's satellite tag has been providing high-resolution location data for more than a month now. When Leo surfaces, this data is transmitted back to researchers via satellite. Using this data, scientists are able to track Leo's movements and consider the environmental conditions that may have guided him to a specific location. Scientists hypothesize that sea surface temperature, upwelling, and coastal fronts could be driving manta ray movements.

This information will improve our understanding of how mantas may be impacted by human activities. It will also inform management decisions to mitigate threats, especially in those areas that may provide habitat during important life stages (i.e., mating and nursery habitats).

Follow Leo's movements and track him on this map. Where will Leo go next? And why will he go there? Stay tuned...

Related Articles

Composition patterns of fish communities in Hawaii
Do the shallow reef fish communities extend to mesophotic depths? Relatively little is known about the underwater world below typical scuba diving depths. This includes mesophotic depths,100 to 500 feet beneath the surface, the furthest that sunlight can penetrate the ocean. Posted on 17 Nov
2019 Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals
Aerial surveys for whales offer a vastly different view compared to boat-based surveys Aerial surveys for whales offer a vastly different view compared to boat-based surveys. The aerial view allows us to see both left and right sides of a whale's body and sometimes even parts of the body below the water's surface. Posted on 9 Nov
What happens when a right whale dies
The right whale known as "Snake Eyes" likely died from entanglement in Canadian fishing gear When a right whale dies and we find it in U.S. waters, we work with stranding network partners to do a necropsy so that we can find out more about the whale and what caused its death. Posted on 8 Nov
Genetics reveal Pacific subspecies of Fin Whale
New findings highlight diversity of marine mammals New genetic research has identified fin whales in the northern Pacific Ocean as a separate subspecies, reflecting a revolution in marine mammal taxonomy Posted on 31 Oct
Tide to table: The rise of ocean farmers
Aquaculture, also known as farming in water, is fastest growing food production system in the world There is a growing interest in understanding where our food is coming from and in supporting local farmers. There has also been an increased focus on local fare on many menus at eateries coast to coast. Posted on 20 Oct
Corals thriving 3 years after Hurricane Matthew
Monitoring shows 90 percent survival rate for restored corals in Puerto Rico Hurricane Matthew swept a destructive path through the south Atlantic and Carribean. Immediately, staff from the NOAA Restoration Center set to work responding to a damaged coral reef off the coast of Puerto Rico. Posted on 18 Oct
New online course for spotting entangled whales
Responding to whale entanglements can be dangerous Highly-trained responders depend on boating community to be "eyes and ears" on the water. The foundation of responding to entangled whales is the on-water community. Posted on 11 Oct
Looking back at the Blob - Chapter 2
The Blob, Chapter 2: Marine Heat Wave "Off the Charts" Temperatures of up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal disrupted the marine ecosystem in both expected and surprising ways. Posted on 10 Oct
Nine turtles satellite tagged in Cape Cod Bay
Researchers attached tags to nine leatherbacks Researchers from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and colleagues successfully attached satellite tags to nine leatherback turtles in Cape Cod Bay this summer. Posted on 3 Oct
Looking back at The Blob
Temperatures of up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal disrupted the marine ecosystem When he saw the sampling nets hauled aboard a NOAA research ship off the coast of Oregon in the summer of 2015, Ric Brodeur knew right away something very strange was happening. Posted on 3 Oct
MBW newsletters (top)