Project: Manta

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OCEAN GIANTS PROJECT

MEGAFAUNA RESEARCH & PROTECTION


THE OCEAN GIANTS PROJECT REPORT

2 MEGAFAUNA BIOMETRIC RECOGNITION

Blue Endeavors is developing housings, and adapting facial recognition software, to facilitate the underwater collection of data on megafauna species by students and citizen scientists.

On megafauna species by students and citizen scientists.On megafauna species by students and citizen scientists.

On megafauna species by students and citizen scientists.On megafauna species by students and citizen scientists.

W O R L D M A N TA P O P U L AT I O N

1980

2000

2020

We live in a new world of networked science. The next generation of leaders in this field, researchers, companies, NGO’s and concerned citizens are coming together and collaborating like never before to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges, like the threat to the oceanic mantas.


THE OCEAN GIANTS PROJECT

OUR VISION The future we envision at Blue Endeavors is a global network of citizen scientists and students, working with researchers and organizations of all scales, on real world projects. Mass collaboration is a powerful way to achieve our ambitious goals of quantifiable results in the realm of ocean conservation and restoration.

THE BLUE ENDEAVORS OCEAN GIANTS PROJECT

builds on this spirit of

collaboration and crowd sourcing problems to develop hardware, and adapt facial recognition software to facilitate the collection of underwater data on megafauna species by students and citizen scientists.


BRAIN

Mantas have the greatest brain to body ratio of all fishes

IN A NEW WORLD OF NETWORKED SCIENCE, leaders in ocean conservation and restoration, cutting edge researchers, socially responsible companies, NGO’s and citizens around the world, are coming together like never before, to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges, like the growing threat to our marine megafauna, our Ocean Giants.

BLUE ENDEAVORS IS DEVELOPING CUTTING EDGE UNDERWATER HOUSINGS, for use with biometric facial recognition software, which BE students and community scientists, will use to facilitate the collection of scientifically

DIET

Zooplankton (5mm)

significant data sets on targeted marine megafauna populations. Data empowers us to better protect these precious animals, like the majestic Oceanic Manta, just one of our endangered Ocean Giants, and our current Data Set Species.

FISHERMEN ARE TARGETING THEM FOR THESE GILL PLATES that are believed to have “medicinal” properties in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but have no scientific evidence proving this and actually contain high levels of toxic heavy metals. Unfortunately, they face similar perils with their shark

GILL PLATES

[Filters to strain plankton]

relatives and are listed as threatened/vulnerable under the Endangered Species Act.


THE OCEAN GIANTS PROJECT

THE DESIGN CHALLENGE To accomplish the Manta Project goals, Blue Endaevors intends to develop a tablet housing and accompanying software that enables divers to easily capture important species data. Since the 2019 expedition our developers have moved into the private sector. New software and housing developers and engineers are needed for the second prototype build to be tested on the third expedition in the summer of 2022.

SOFTWARE: The natural spot patterns on the underside of manta rays can easily distinguish individuals like a fingerprint. Fishial recognition software is being developed to run on a housed tablet. Parallel-laser

HARDWARE WITH ENVIRONMENTAL SENSORS:

accuartely measures

The first prototype of the hardware was developed in partnership with

photogrammetry manta wingspan

Every manta has a unique

Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, and tested at Roca Partida in the

natural underside spot

summer of 2019. The housed tablets use compressed gas to equalize the

for global tracking

pressure behind the screen’s membrane, allowing underwater use of the

pattern that can be used

tablet. In addition to the native location data in the tablet, an external euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat

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PROTOTYPE

computer

collected

water

temperature

and

depth

information.

Parallel-laser photogrammetry is planned to capture subject size.


THE BLUE ENDEAVORS TEAM’S JOURNEY SO FAR.. The project was conceived in 2017 during an exploratory expedition

with

Mexican

marine

biologists

studying

elasmobranchs in the Revillagigedo Islands. After learning about the need for more data about individual giant mantas, and experiencing the challenges of traditional data collection, it was clear there was a need to apply current advances in technology to the problem.

The giant oceanic manta rays (mobula birostris) of the Revillagigedo Archipelago have been selected as the first project test subjects due to the current ecosystem and gill raker trade threats, and overall lack of scientific data. Once developed the technology can easily be adapted for all megafauna species. The third research and development expedition will take place in the summer of 2022 in partnership with Shark Stewards.

Traditional data collection techniques, which were used on the 2019 student expedition, include photography paired with monitoring and documenting of environmental measurement tools underwater. This technique is difficult in challenging conditions, and the data sets are limited to small amounts of funding to biologists or grad students trained to collect data. By adapting facial recognition software, and building the necessary monitoring tools into tablet housings, the data collection process could be greatly simplified, and collection could be crowd sourced by volunteer divers and students. The 2019 participants tested the first prototype, and exposed students to the contrasting techniques.

EXPEDITION PARTNER:


“I have always had a passion for the ocean so going on the Socorro

trip was truly a dream come true. The boat ride out is definitely worth the potential sea sickness since the archipelago is such a

breathtaking spot. Just waking up was an experience with all kinds of

sharks constantly bumping into the boat and the occasional pod of dolphins swimming by. As soon as the dive group descended, all kinds of wildlife swarmed by, from schools of jacks and tuna to

hunting sharks and dolphins, and of course, the giant mantas and

whale sharks. The excitement and constant wildlife action was

everything you could ever want in a dive. At some points, I couldn’t even decide what animal to focus on, there were just so many! My

trip felt especially spectacular because we started to recognize the same individual manta rays at different locations and could actually

observe their behaviors over various dives. The experience of interacting with the mantas has inspired me to further my Olivia & an Oceanic Manta

environmental and oceanic studies and opened my eyes to see just how vast the marine world truly is.“ Olivia Cherry Age 17


THE OCEAN GIANTS PROJECT

JOIN US!

To become part of this exciting and important project, please contact: vince@blue-endeavors.org