The Foundation For Oceans of the Future is an independent non-profit organization which was established in 2003 to help the research and the protection of marine animals and their habitats. The goal of our foundation is to support scientific research on chondrichtyes, mainly focusing on endangered or threatened ray, skate and shark species. With the support of cutting edge conservation and research programs we intend to raise attention for the role of certain species in the ecosystem, including the poorly studied giant manta rays. Most of the shark and ray populations are in danger due to pollution, habitat destruction, overfishing, extensive tourism pressure or entanglement in fishing lines and nets. Our goal is the enhancement of global marine ecosystems through public outreach and education as well. By understanding these mysterious marine species more we work for their protection worldwide.
The Foundation focuses mainly on the giant manta rays at present.
Rays of the family Mobulidae are often referred as devil rays, Mantas and Mobulas. Until recently four valid species of manta rays were recognized:
Manta birostris (Atlantic manta; Walbaum, 1792),
Manta alfredi (Prince Alfred’s manta ray; Krefft, 1868),
Manta hamiltoni (Pacific manta ray; Hamilton and Newman, 1849) and
Manta ehrenbergii (Müller and Henle, 1841).
Based on genetic samples they were recognized as a single species (Manta birostris) for a few years, but recently, based on other genetic analyses two species (Manta birostris and Manta alfredi) have been distinguished.
In the family Mobulidae an other genus has been distinguished, the Mobulas (Rafinesque, 1810) with 9 species. The most prominent difference between the two genus is that the position of the mouth is ventral in Mobula and terminal in Manta.
They are one of the largest fishes with a flattened, disc shaped body with large, wing-like pectoral fins. They have two flap-like appendages, called cephalic fins extending forward on each side of the mouth that are characteristic of this family. They primarily feed on plankton, and are harmless to humans. Devil rays are distributed world-wide in tropical and subtropical waters.
Devil rays are a very poorly studied group worldwide, only few studies have been conducted on their population dynamics, reproductive biology and conservation issues. Based on neurobiological research of Mobulid ray brains studied by Dr. Csilla Ari, their special brain features imply unique abilities. Future research will concentrate on understanding more their behavior and brain characteristics.
The goal of the Foundation is to continue and extend both the neurobiological and the behavioral studies. Research projects are also planned to study their population dynamics, social behavior, also to identify, develop and manage marine protected areas for their protection. Populations of the species studied by our Foundation are in serious danger in many countries due to extensive overfishing or bycatch, pollution, habitat destruction and extensive tourism pressure. We also involve local NGO’s, universities, and research facilities to complete our commitments. The sooner we can justify the need for their protection through scientific research, the sooner we can help to save these wonderful species and ensure that they will be swimming in our oceans for years to come.
Manta rays in the Maldives and many other locations around the world are affected by many threats, including entanglement in fishing lines or collision with boat propellers.
…and many times they get serious wounds from large shark attacks…
We work against:
At many parts of the world, uncontrolled fishing makes a huge impact on Mobulid populations and whereas they produce pups in every 2-3 years, the recovery of their population is almost impossible in the near future, if at all.
Devil ray fishing in Mexico (click on the picture):