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Site fidelity and movement patterns of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi): Mobulidae using passive acoustic telemetry in northern Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Setyawan, E ORCID: 0000-0001-6629-5997, Sianipar, AB, Erdmann, MV, Fischer, AM ORCID: 0000-0001-5284-6428, Haddy, JA ORCID: 0000-0002-8307-128X, Beale, CS, Lewis, SA and Mambrasar, R 2018 , 'Site fidelity and movement patterns of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi): Mobulidae using passive acoustic telemetry in northern Raja Ampat, Indonesia' , Nature Conservation Research, vol. 3, no. 4 , pp. 1-15 .

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Though extremely valuable to the local marine tourism industry, there is a dearth of published information onthe ecology and population dynamics of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) in Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia.Knowledge of the movement ecology in particular of this large and scattered population is urgently neededto better manage the rapidly expanding manta-focused tourism. Here we report the results of an initial passiveacoustic telemetry study designed to provide local managers with the first detailed knowledge of the site useand movement patterns of reef mantas in northern Raja Ampat. A total of 39 reef mantas were tagged withVemco V16 acoustic transmitters over a 15-month period between 27 November 2013 and 22 February 2015.To monitor their movements, VR2W acoustic receivers were deployed at eight sites corresponding to knownmanta cleaning and feeding aggregation sites, with receivers downloaded every six months over a two-yearinitial monitoring period. The duration between tag deployments and last date of detections at sites ranged from1 to 682 days (mean ± SE = 237 ± 27). The cumulative number of days of manta detections at receiver sites byindividual mantas ranged from 1 to 188 days (mean ± SE = 42 ± 7). Manta Ridge was the most popular site with565 days of detections. The tagged mantas demonstrated strong site fidelity to the observed aggregation sites, butalso exhibited seasonal movements within an approximately 150 km long corridor between sites in the DampierStrait and the northwest of Waigeo Island. Data analysed from a nearby array of six VR2W receivers in southernRaja Ampat (approximately 180 km to the south of the study area) confirmed that none of the tagged mantaswere detected in this array, providing further evidence of strong site fidelity and limited movements within theRaja Ampat Archipelago. More than 96% of detections occurred during the daytime. The number of detectionsreached a peak around noon at Yefnabi Kecil and Eagle Rock and slightly earlier at Manta Ridge. These findingshave been shared with the Raja Ampat Marine Protected Area Management Authority and are now being usedin the formulation of a management plan for this vulnerable and economically important species to ensure thelong-term health of Raja Ampat’s reef mantas and the sustainability of manta tourism in the region.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Setyawan, E and Sianipar, AB and Erdmann, MV and Fischer, AM and Haddy, JA and Beale, CS and Lewis, SA and Mambrasar, R
Keywords: marine protected area, reef manta, dive tourism management, seasonal movement, tagging, West Papua
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Conservation Research
ISSN: 2500-008X
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© 2018 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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