In 2018, Nilza de Catarina joined MMF as part of our Fellowship Program. In the space of one year she learnt how to swim AND dive! As well as assisting with research into manta rays and whale sharks in the Tofo region. Read on to hear about her experience…
Our 3 Priority Regions
- — Have a high number of threatened marine species.
- — Represent the highest levels of ocean biodiversity.
- — Face significant threats from growing human pressures.
Our 3 Core Initiatives
By 2030, we will be one of the main explorers of marine ecosystems, focusing on megafauna as our flagship species. Our current research focuses on species-level population ecology and conservation biology, with considerable overlap between the two areas.
We strive to be both a global and local educator: raising public awareness and inspiring action across the world, while working directly with coastal communities and government officials to enhance understanding and support behavioral change.
We work to improve the management of existing marine protected areas (MPAs) and develop effective, long-term conservation strategies to protect and restore key habitats. On a regional level, we are a trusted conservation leader, empowering local communities to manage marine resources sustainably.
Watch our work
Bazaruto Ocean Guardians
Studying Manta Rays
Strategic Manifesto 2017
Updates from the Field
MMF’s first MEGA Expeditions took place in Mozambique in June and August 2019. Read on to find out more about this once in a lifetime experience, and why the August expedition group were called “team smalleye” by the end…
MMF has discovered that the shallow, coastal waters of south Florida may be a nursery ground for giant manta rays.
Janis and April joined MMF from Udayana University to support our research project on the microplastics found in and around the manta ray’s feeding ground in Nusa Penida. Read on to hear about their findings…
Janis Argeswara and Raka Wulandari two of our interns in Nusa Lembongan, Bali give a very interesting insight into the day to day activities they were involved in at the Marine Megafauna Foundation.
Plastic pollution has recently gained increasing attention for its effects on marine mammals, fish and birds. However, it is still not fully understood to what extent small pieces of plastic, known as microplastics, impact marine life and ecosystems.
Microplastics in our oceans pose a growing concern to megafauna. Manta rays, whale sharks and some other large marine animals are filter feeders, which means they are at risk of ingesting these tiny pieces of plastic. In 2016, we investigated the levels of microplastics in waters where manta rays are feeding in several locations across Indonesia. What we discovered unearthed a shocking reality.
For most Mozambicans, the ocean is something to be feared. Many cannot swim and each year countless drowning fatalities occur along the coastline, as people risk their lives on a daily basis to provide for their families. 52% of Mozambicans are under the age of 18, which provides great opportunity for change. Future Ocean Guardians is our flagship education program which aims to create a new generation of ocean guardians who understand and cherish their marine environment.
To effectively conserve marine wildlife, such as mantas and whale sharks, we must have a firm grasp on their global and regional ecology. Manta rays and whale sharks have natural spot patterns (‘fingerprints’) that do not change markedly over time, allowing us to identify each individual using photographs. This means anyone with an underwater camera can become a ‘citizen scientist’ and help us identify and track these majestic animals across the world.
Sharks and rays are increasingly being identified as threatened with extinction, prompting urgent assessments of their local or regional populations. We need accurate information on population size, structure and connectivity to understand the conservation requirements of a species, develop appropriate management strategies and monitor population health over time.
There are several sites where large numbers of whale sharks aggregate, attracting tourists from all over the world. Most of the sharks present at these sites are juvenile males between four and nine meters in length. Of the 7,700 individual sharks identified in the global whale shark database around 2/3 are male. Where are all the females? Where are the adults (and babies) of either sex?
Our flagship conservation initiative, the Sustainable Seas Program, aims to empower communities to manage their marine ecosystems in a sustainable way. We are helping members of the community discover and sustain alternative livelihoods as well as protect their coastal ecosystems, benefitting both present and future generations.