Scientific Publications

Our scientific work generally focuses on species-level population ecology and conservation biology, with considerable overlap between the two areas. Our ongoing research programs are focused primarily on manta rays (Mobula alfredi and Mobula birostris) and whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), among other sharks and rays. Many plankton-feeders congregate around highly productive coastal waters, presenting an ideal opportunity for research on these huge yet enigmatic species. Our research projects examine also other unique and/or threatened species found in the regions we work.

If you would like a copy of any of these publications, please contact us at media@marinemegafauna.org with ‘Request for publication copy’ in the subject line, and a brief description of your background and needs.

 

MANTA RAYS


Pierce SJ, Holmberg JA, Kock AL, Marshall AD. 2018. Photographic identification of sharks. In: Shark research: emerging technologies and applications for the field and laboratory. Carrier JC, Heithaus MR, Simpfendorfer CA (eds.). CRC Press

Rambahiniarison JM, Lamoste MJ, Rohner CA, Murray R, Snow SJ, Labaja J, Araujo G and Ponzo A. 2018. Life history, growth, and reproductive biology of four mobulid species in the Bohol Sea, Philippines. Front. Mar. Sci. 5:269

Germanov ES, Marshall AD, Bejder L, Fossi MC and Loneragan NR. 2018. Microplastics: No small problem for filter-feeding megafauna. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 33(4)

Burgess KB, Guerrero M, Marshall AD, Richardson AJ and Bennett MB. 2018. Novel signature fatty acid profile of the giant manta ray suggests reliance on an uncharacterised mesopelagic food source low in polyunsaturated fatty acids. PLOS One

Burgess KB, Guerrero M, Richardson AJ, Bennett MB and Marshall AD. 2017. Use of epidermal mucus in elasmobranch stable isotope studies: a pilot study using the giant manta ray (Manta birostris). Marine and Freshwater Research

Venables S, Winstanley S, Bowles L and Marshall AD. 2016. A giant opportunity: the economic impact of manta rays on the Mozambican tourism industry – an incentive for increased management and protection. Tourism in Marine Environments 12(1): 51-68 (18)

Burgess KB, Couturier LIE, Marshall AD, Richardson AJ, Weeks SJ and Bennett MB. 2016. Manta birostris, predator of the deep? Insight into the diet of the giant manta ray through stable isotope analysis. R. Soc. open sci. 3: 160717

Croll DA, Dewar H, Dulvy NK, Fernando D, Francis MP, Galvan-Magana F, Hall M, Heinrichs S, Marshall AD, McCauley D, Newton KM, Notarbartolo-di-Sciara G, O’Malley M, O’Sullivan J, Poortviet M, Roman M, Stevens G, Tershy BR and White WT. 2015. Vulnerabilities and fisheries impacts: The uncertain future of manta and devil rays. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Kashiwagi T, Maxwell EA, Marshall AD and Christensen AB. 2015. Evaluating manta ray mucus as an alternative DNA source for population genetics study: underwater-sampling, dry-storage and PCR success. PeerJ 3:e1188

Germanov ES and Marshall AD. 2014. Running the gauntlet: regional movement patterns of Manta alfredi through a complex of parks and fisheries. PLOS ONE 9(10): e110071

Jaine FRA, Rohner CA, Weeks SJ, Couturier LIE, Bennett MB, Townsend KA and Richardson AJ. 2014. Movements and habitat use of reef manta rays off eastern Australia: offshore excursions, deep diving and eddy affinity revealed by satellite telemetry. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 510:73-86

Couturier LIE, Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Marshall AD, Jaine FRA, et al. 2013. Stable isotope and signature fatty acid analyses suggest reef manta rays feed on demersal zooplankton. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77152

Couturier LIE, Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Pierce SJMarshall AD, Jaine FRA, Townsend KA, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ and Nichols PD. 2013. Unusually high levels of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in whale sharks and reef manta rays. Lipids 48: 1029-1034

Town C, Marshall AD and Sethasathien N. 2013. Manta Matcher: automated photographic identification of manta rays using key point features. Ecology and Evolution (3)7: 1902–1914

Rohner CA, Pierce SJMarshall AD, Weeks SJ, Bennett MB and Richardson AJ. 2013. Trends in sightings and environmental influences on a coastal aggregation of manta rays and whale sharks. Marine Ecology Progress Series 482: 153-168

Kashiwagi T, Marshall AD, Bennett MB and Ovenden JR. 2012. The genetic signature of recent speciation in manta rays (M. alfredi and M. birostris). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 64: 212-218

Marshall AD and Pierce SJ. 2012. The use and abuse of photographic identification in sharks and rays. Journal of Fish Biology 80: 1361-1379

Marshall AD, Dudgeon C and Bennett MB. 2011. Size and structure of a photographically identified population of manta rays Manta alfredi in southern Mozambique. Marine Biology 158(5): 1111

Kashiwagi T, Marshall AD, Bennett MB and Ovenden JR. 2011. Habitat segregation and mosaic sympatry of the two species of manta ray in the Indian and Pacific Oceans: Manta alfredi and M. birostris. Marine Biodiversity Records 4, e86

Marshall AD and Bennett MB. 2010. Reproductive ecology of the reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) in southern Mozambique. Journal of Fish Biology 77: 169-190

Marshall AD and Bennett MB. 2010. The frequency and effect of shark-inflicted bite injuries to the reef manta Manta alfredi. South African Journal of Marine Science 32(3)

Marshall AD, Compagno LJV and Bennett MB. 2009. Redescription of the genus Manta with resurrection of Manta alfredi (Krefft, 1868) (Chondrichthyes; Myliobatoidei; Mobulidae). Zootaxa 2301: 1–28

Marshall AD, Pierce SJ and Bennett MB. 2008. Morphological measurements of manta rays (Manta birostris) with a description of a foetus from the east coast of Southern Africa. Zootaxa 1717: 24-30

 

WHALE SHARKS


Pierce SJ, Holmberg JA, Kock AL, Marshall AD. 2018. Photographic identification of sharks. In: Shark research: emerging technologies and applications for the field and laboratory. Carrier JC, Heithaus MR, Simpfendorfer CA (eds.). CRC Press

Prebble CEM, Rohner CA, Pierce SJ, Robinson DP, Jaidah MY, Bach SS and Trueman CN. 2018. Limited latitudinal ranging of juvenile whale sharks in the Western Indian Ocean suggests the existence of regional management units. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 601:167-183.

Araujo G, Rohner CA, Labaja J, Conales SJ, Snow SJ, Murray R, Pierce SJ and Ponzo A. 2018. Satellite tracking of juvenile whale sharks in the Sulu and Bohol Seas, Philippines. PeerJ 6:e5231

Diamant S, Rohner CA, Kiszka JJ, Guillemain d’Echon A, Guillemain d’Echon T, Sourisseau E, Pierce SJ. 2018. Movements and habitat use of satellite-tagged whale sharks off western Madagascar. Endangered Species Research

Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Jaine FRA, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ, Cliff G, Robinson DP, Reeve-Arnold KE, Pierce SJ. 2018. Satellite tagging highlights the importance of productive Mozambican coastal waters to the ecology and conservation of whale sharks. PeerJ

Meekan M, Austin CM, Tan MH, Wei NV, Miller A, Pierce SJ, Rowat D, Stevens G, Davies TK, Ponzo A, Gan HM. 2017. iDNA at Sea: Recovery of whale shark (Rhincodon typus) mitochondrial DNA sequences from the whale shark copepod (Pandarus rhincodonicus) confirms global population structure. Frontiers in Marine Science

Norman BM, Holmberg JA, Arzoumanian Z, Reynolds SD, Wilson RP, Rob D, Pierce SJ, Gleiss AC, de la Parra R, Galvan B, Ramirez-Macias D, Robinson D, Fox S, Graham R, Rowat D, Potenski M, Levine M, Mckinney JA, Hoffmayer E, Dove ADM, Hueter R, Ponzo A, Araujo G, Aca E, David D, Rees R, Duncan A, Rohner CA, Prebble CEM, Hearn A, Acuna D, Berumen ML, Vázquez A, Green J, Bach SS, Schmidt JV, Beatty SJ and Morgan DL. 2017. Undersea Constellations: The Global Biology of an Endangered Marine Megavertebrate Further Informed through Citizen Science. BioScience. 67(12):1029–1043

Robinson DP, Jaidah MY, Bach SS, Rohner CA, Jabado RW, Ormond R and Pierce SJ. 2017. Some like it hot: Repeat migration and residency of whale sharks within an extreme natural environment. PloS ONE 12: e0185360

McKinney JA, Hoffmayer ER, Holmberg J, Graham RT, Driggers WB III, de la Parra-Venegas R, Galván-Pastoriza BE, Fox S, Pierce SJ, Dove ADM. 2017. Long-term assessment of whale shark population demography and connectivity using photo-identification in the Western Atlantic Ocean. PLoS ONE

Ramírez-Macías D, Queiroz N, Pierce SJ, Humphries NE, Sims DW, Brunnschweiler JM. 2017. Oceanic adults, coastal juveniles: tracking the habitat use of whale sharks off the Pacific coast of Mexico. PeerJ 5:e3271

Andrzejaczek S, Meeuwig J, Rowat D, Pierce SJ, Davies T, Fisher R and Meekan M. 2016. The ecological connectivity of whale shark aggregations in the Indian Ocean: A photo-identification approach. Royal Society Open Science

Robinson DP, Jaidah MY, Bach S, Lee K, Jabado RW, Rohner CA, March A, Caprodossi S, Henderson AC, Mair JM, Ormond R and Pierce SJ. 2016. Population structure, abundance and movement of whale sharks in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. PLoS ONE

Cagua F, Cochran J, Rohner CAPrebble CEM, Sinclair-Taylor T, Pierce SJ and Berumen M. 2015. Acoustic telemetry reveals cryptic residency of whale sharks. Biology Letters 11

Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Prebble CEMMarshall AD, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ, Cliff G, Wintner SP and Pierce SJ. 2015. Laser photogrammetry improves size and demographic estimates for whale sharks. PeerJ

Rohner CA, Armstrong A, Pierce SJPrebble CEM, Cagua F, Cochran J, Berumen M and Richardson AJ. 2015. Whale sharks target dense prey patches of sergestid shrimp off Tanzania. Journal of Plankton Research

Haskell PJ, McGowan A, Westling A, Méndez-Jiménez A, Rohner CA, Collins K, Rosero-Caicedo M, Salmond J, Monadjem A, Marshall AD, Pierce SJ. 2015. Monitoring the effects of tourism on whale shark Rhincodon typus behaviour in Mozambique. Oryx 49(3): 492-499

Vignaud TM, Maynard JA, Leblois R, Meekan MG, Vasquez-Juarez R, Ramirez-Macias D, Pierce SJ, Rowat D, Berumen ML, Beeravolu C, Baksay S and Planes S. 2014. Genetic structure of populations of whale sharks among ocean basins and evidence for their historic rise and recent decline. Molecular Ecology 23: 2590-2601

Austin CM, Hua Tan M, Peng Lee Y, Croft LJ, Meekan MG, Pierce SJ and Ming Gan H. 2014. The complete mitogenome of the whale shark parasitic copepod Pandarus rhincodonicus Norman, Newbound & Knott (Crustacea; Siphonostomatoida; Pandaridae) – a new gene order for the copepoda. Mitochondrial DNA 27(1): 694-5

Rohner CA, Couturier L, Richardson A, Pierce SJPrebble CEM, Gibbons M and Nichols P. 2013. Diet of whale sharks Rhincodon typus inferred from stomach content and signature fatty acid analyses. Marine Ecology Progress Series 493: 219-235

Couturier LIE, Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Pierce SJMarshall AD, Jaine FRA, Townsend KA, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ and Nichols PD. 2013. Unusually high levels of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in whale sharks and reef manta rays. Lipids 48: 1029-1034

Fox S, Foisy I, de la Parra Venegas R, Galván Pastoriza E, Graham RT, Hoffmayer ER, Holmberg J and Pierce SJ. 2013. Population structure and residency of whale sharks Rhincodon typus at Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras. Journal of Fish Biology 83(3): 574-587

Rohner CA, Pierce SJMarshall AD, Weeks SJ, Bennett MB and Richardson AJ. 2013. Trends in sightings and environmental influences on a coastal aggregation of manta rays and whale sharks. Marine Ecology Progress Series 482: 153-168

Robinson DP, Jaidah MY, Jabado RW, Lee-Brooks K, Nour El-Din NM, Al Malki AA, Elmeer K, McCormick PA, Henderson AC, Pierce SJ and Ormond RFG. 2013. Whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, aggregate around offshore platforms in Qatari waters of the Arabian Gulf to feed on fish spawn. PLOS ONE

Marshall AD and Pierce SJ. 2012. The use and abuse of photographic identification in sharks and rays. Journal of Fish Biology 80: 1361-1379

Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Marshall AD, Weeks SJ and Pierce SJ. 2011. How large is the world’s largest fish? Measuring whale sharks Rhincodon typus with laser photogrammetry. Journal of Fish Biology 78: 378-385

Brooks K, Rowat D, Pierce SJ, D Jouannet and Vely M. 2010. Seeing spots: Photo-identification as a regional tool for whale shark identification. Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science 9: 185-194

Pierce SJ, Méndez-Jiménez A, Collins K, Rosero-Caicedo M and Monadjem A. 2010. Developing a code of conduct for whale shark interactions in Mozambique. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems 20: 782-788

Brunnschweiler JM, Baensch H, Pierce SJ and Sims DW. 2009. Deep-diving behaviour of a whale shark Rhincodon typus during long-distance movement in the western Indian Ocean. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 706-714

Mucientes GR, Queiroz N, Pierce SJ, Sazima I & Brunnschweiler JM. 2008. Is host ectoparasite load related to echeneid fish presence? Research Letters in Ecology

Speed CW, Meekan MG, Rowat D, Pierce SJMarshall AD and Bradshaw CJA. 2008. Scarring patterns and relative mortality rates of Indian Ocean whale sharks. Journal of Fish Biology 72: 1488-1503

 

OTHER SPECIES


Rohner CA, Burgess KB, Rambahiniarison JM, Stewart JD, Ponzo A and Richardson AJ. 2017. Mobulid rays feed on euphausiids in the Bohol Sea. Royal Society open science 4 (5), 161060

Stewart JD, Rohner CA, Araujo G, Avila J, et al. 2017. Trophic overlap in mobulid rays: insights from stable isotope analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 580:131-151

Robinson DP, Jabado RW, Rohner CA, Pierce SJ, Hyland KP and Baverstock WR. 2017. Satellite tagging of rehabilitated green sea turtles Chelonia mydas from the United Arab Emirates, including the longest tracked journey for the species. PLoS ONE12: e0184286

Williams JL, Pierce SJ, Rohner CA, Fuentes MM and Hamann M. 2017. Spatial distribution and residency of green and loggerhead sea turtles using coastal reef habitats in southern Mozambique. Frontiers in Marine Science

Williams JL, Pierce SJ, Fuentes MMPB and Hamann M. 2015. Effectiveness of recreational divers for monitoring sea turtle populations. Endangered Species Research 26: 209-219

Couturier LIE, Marshall AD, Jaine FRA, Kashiwagi T, Pierce SJ, Townsend KA, Weeks SJ, Bennett MB and Richardson AJ. 2012. Biology, ecology and conservation of the Mobulidae. Journal of Fish Biology 80: 1075-1119

Pierce SJ, Scott-Holland TB and Bennett MB. 2011. Community composition of elasmobranch fishes utilizing intertidal sand-flats in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Pacific Science 65: 235-247

Pierce SJ and Bennett MB. 2010. Destined to decline? Intrinsic susceptibility of the threatened estuary stingray to anthropogenic impacts. Marine & Freshwater Research 61: 1468-148

Pierce SJ and Bennett MB. 2010. Distribution of the estuary stingray (Dasyatis fluviorum) in Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Nature 55: 9-17

Pierce SJ and Bennett MB. 2009. Reproduction of the blue-spotted maskray Neotrygon kuhlii (Myliobatoidei: Dasyatidae) in southeast Queensland, Australia. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 1291-1308

Pierce SJ and Bennett MB. 2009. Validated annual band pair periodicity and growth parameters of blue-spotted maskray (Neotrygon kuhlii) from southeast Queensland, Australia. Journal of Fish Biology 75: 2490-2508

Marshall AD, Kyne PM and Bennett MB. 2008. Comparing the diet of two sympatric urolophid elasmobranches (Trygonoptera testacea Müller & Henle and Urolophus kapalensis Yearsley & Last): evidence of ontogenetic shifts and possible resource partitioning. Journal of Fish Biology 72: 883-898

Pierce SJ, White WT and Marshall AD. 2008. New record of the smalleye stingray, Dasyatis microps (Myliobatiformes: Dasyatidae), from the western Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 1734: 65-68

 

METHODOLOGY


Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Jaine FRA, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ, Cliff G, Robinson DP, Reeve-Arnold KE, Pierce SJ. 2018. Satellite tagging highlights the importance of productive Mozambican coastal waters to the ecology and conservation of whale sharks. PeerJ

Burgess KB, Guerrero M, Richardson AJ, Bennett MB and Marshall AD. 2017. Use of epidermal mucus in elasmobranch stable isotope studies: a pilot study using the giant manta ray (Manta birostris). Marine and Freshwater Research

Meekan M, Austin CM, Tan MH, Wei NV, Miller A, Pierce SJ, Rowat D, Stevens G, Davies TK, Ponzo A and Gan HM. 2017. iDNA at Sea: Recovery of whale shark (Rhincodon typus) mitochondrial DNA sequences from the whale shark copepod (Pandarus rhincodonicus) confirms global population structure. Frontiers in Marine Science

Norman BM, Holmberg JA, Arzoumanian Z, et al. 2017. Undersea constellations: The global biology of an endangered marine megavertebrate further informed through citizen science. BioScience: bix127

Andrzejaczek S, Meeuwig J, Rowat D, Pierce SJ, Davies T, Fisher R and Meekan M. 2016. The ecological connectivity of whale shark aggregations in the Indian Ocean: A photo-identification approach. Royal Society Open Science

McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Helm RR, Hochberg FGE, Gaskins LC, Lee FB, Marshall AD, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN and Thaler AD. 2015. Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna. PeerJ

Cagua F, Cochran J, Rohner CAPrebble CEM, Sinclair-Taylor T, Pierce SJ and Berumen M. 2015. Acoustic telemetry reveals cryptic residency of whale sharks. Biology Letters 11

Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Prebble CEMMarshall AD, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ, Cliff G, Wintner SP and Pierce SJ. 2015. Laser photogrammetry improves size and demographic estimates for whale sharks. PeerJ

Marshall AD and Pierce SJ. 2012. The use and abuse of photographic identification in sharks and rays. Journal of Fish Biology 80: 1361-1379

Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Marshall AD, Weeks SJ and Pierce SJ. 2011. How large is the world’s largest fish? Measuring whale sharks Rhincodon typus with laser photogrammetry. Journal of Fish Biology 78: 378-385

Brooks K, Rowat D, Pierce SJ, D Jouannet and Vely M. 2010. Seeing spots: Photo-identification as a regional tool for whale shark identification. Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science 9: 185-194

 

IUCN RED LIST ASSESSMENTS


Dulvy NK, Robinson DP, Pierce SJ, et al. Rhincodon typus. In: Jabado RW, Kyne PM, Pollom RA, Ebert DA, Simpfendorfer CA, Ralph GM, Dulvy NK (eds.). 2017. The Conservation status of sharks, rays, and chimaeras in the Arabian Sea and adjacent waters. Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, UAE and IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group, Vancouver, Canada 236 pp

Pierce SJ and Norman BM. 2016. Rhincodon typus. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Rigby C and Pierce SJ. 2015. Himantura toshi. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Pierce SJ. 2015. Dasyatis parvonigra. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Pierce SJ and Kyne PM. 2015. Neotrygon leylandi. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Fahmi, White WT, Manjaji Matsumoto BM and Pierce SJ. 2015. Dasyatis microps. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Marshall AD, Kashiwagi T, Bennett MB, Deakos M, Stevens G, McGregor F, Clark T, Ishihara H and Sato K. 2011. Manta alfredi. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Marshall AD, Bennett MB, Kodja G, Hinojosa-Alvarez S, Galván-Magaña F, Harding M, Stevens G and Kashiwagi T. 2011. Manta birostris. In:IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Pierce SJ and Bennett MB. 2003. Mobula eregoodootenkee. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

 

THESES


Rohner CA. 2012. A global whale shark hotspot in southern Mozambique: population structure, feeding ecology, movements and environmental drivers. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland, Australia

Marshall AD. 2009. Biology and population ecology of Manta birostris in southern Mozambique. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland, Australia

Pierce SJ. 2009. Biology, demography and conservation of rays in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland, Australia