I am Dr. Mark Deakos, marine biologist and manta ray specialist. I am working to save Maui manta rays from fishing entanglement. Ask me anything!
I’m the Executive Director for the Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research (HAMER)(www.hamerinhawaii.org), and I have been studying manta rays in the Pacific for the past decade. Using methods of photo-identification, paired-laser photogrammetry, genetics, acoustic and satellite tagging, we are learning what habitats are critical, how they use these habitats on a daily and seasonal basis, how quickly they grow and mature, how often females get pregnant, what mating strategies are used, and how much of a threat large sharks and humans have on the survival of these majestic, large-brained giants.
I've spent the last 10 years conducting long, arduous swims in full dive gear, battling howling winds, pounding surf, ripping currents, and even fighting off tiger sharks to save and protect Hawaii's majestic giant manta rays and the habitats they rely on for survival. I will do whatever it takes.
We recently launched a crowdsourcing campaign to help understand why 10% of Maui’s mantas are getting entangled in fishing line and what can we do to mitigate against this threat (www.savemauimantas.org). We have 4 days remaining in our campaign. I’m happy to answer all your questions about studying manta rays and all that is good, bad, inspiring and heartbreaking. Ask me anything.
"UPDATE: Thank you for the awesome questions! I have to go now but I will be checking in periodically to see if there are anymore questions. Don't forget to check out our Save Maui Manta's Indiegogo Campaign and help us get to 100 supporters before our time runs out (1 DAY LEFT!). Even if you donate just $1 you will help us achieve our goal and that would be very, very cool. We only need 6 more supporters!! www.savemauimantas.org "