A community-funded project, Megamouths is an initiative of Run for the Reef to learn more about whale sharks and manta rays in the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea region.
The waters off the north east coast of Australia remain a mystery to scientists, with little to no data about whale sharks and manta rays in this area. While we know these charismatic plankton feeders have a circumtropical distribution through all tropical and warm temperate seas, we don’t know much about their habitat use, population demography, movement patterns and occurrence on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and Coral Sea.
Why Is It Important?
Whale sharks are listed as endangered and manta rays as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The megamouth project aims to determine the significance of the GBR for the sustainability of these species and to identify implications for species management and conservation if whale sharks and manta rays move across international borders into territories where they are still exploited. As biological processes shift due to the changing environment, we could be losing important habitats for these species, or potentially losing these species from sections of the GBR, without knowing they were there.
View our recorded sightings in the map below!