MailChimp Signup Form

Facebook Button

Marine Megafauna Foundation


MMF Scientific Publications

Our scientific work generally focuses on species-level population ecology and conservation biology, with considerable overlap between the two areas. Our major ongoing research programs are focused on manta rays (Manta alfredi and M. birostris) and whale shark (Rhincodon typus). These huge plankton-feeders congregate year-round in the highly productive coastal waters along the southern Mozambican coast, presenting an ideal opportunity for research on these huge yet enigmatic species. Other research projects also examine some of the more unique and/or threatened species found in the area.


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

Peer-Reviewed Publications:


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): pp. 51-68 (18).


Burgess KB, Coutourier LIE, Marshall AD, Richardson AJ, Weeks SJ, 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.


Kashiwagi T, Maxwell EA, Marshall AD, 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


Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Prebble CEM, Marshall AD, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ, Cliff G, Wintner SP, Pierce SJ. (2015) Laser photogrammetry improves size and demographic estimates for whale sharks. PeerJ. doi: 10.7717/peerj.886 

Fernando Cagua, Jesse Cochran, Christoph Rohner, Clare Prebble, Tane Sinclair-Taylor, Simon Pierce and Michael Berumen (2015) Acoustic telemetry reveals cryptic residency of whale sharks. Biology Letters. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0092


Christoph Rohner, Amelia Armstrong, Simon Pierce, Clare Prebble, Fernando Cagua, Jesse Cochran, Michael Berumen and Anthony J. Richardson (2015) Whale sharks target dense prey patches of sergestid shrimp off Tanzania. Journal of Plankton Research. doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbv010


Jessica L. Williams, Simon J. Pierce, Mariana M. P. B. Fuentes, Mark Hamann (2015) Effectiveness of recreational divers for monitoring sea turtle populations. Endang Species Res doi: 10.3354/esr00647


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, Thaler AD (2015) Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marinemegafauna.PeerJ DOI 10.7717/peerj.715


Germanov ES & Marshall AD (2014) Running the Gauntlet: Regional Movement Patterns of Manta alfredi through a complex of parks and fisheries.Plos One 9(10):e110071


Haskell PJ, McGowan A, Westling A, Méndez-Jiménez A, Rohner CA, Collins K, Rosero-Caicedo M, Salmond J, Monadjem A, Marshall AD, Pierce SJ (2014) Monitoring the effects of tourism on whale shark Rhincodon typus behaviour in Mozambique. Oryx DOI:10.1017/S0030605313001257


Couturier LIE, Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Marshall AD, Jaine FR, Bennett MB, Townsend KA, Weeks SJ, Nichols PD (2013) Stable Isotope and Signature Fatty Acid Analyses Suggest Reef Manta Rays Feed on Demersal Zooplankton. PLoS ONE 8:e77152


Couturier LIE, Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Pierce SJ, Marshall AD, Jaine FR, Townsend KA, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ, Nichols PD (2013) Unusually High Levels of n-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Whale Sharks and Reef Manta Rays. Lipids 48:1029-1034. DOI 10.1007/s11745-013-3829-8


Rohner C., Couturier L., Richardson A., Pierce S., Prebble C., Gibbons M., 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.


Town C., Marshall AD, Sethasathien N (2013) Manta Matcher: Automated Photographic Identification of Manta Rays using Keypoint Features. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.587 

Robinson DP, Jaidah MY, Jabado RW, Lee-Brooks K, Nour El-Din NM, Al Malki AA, Elmeer K, McCormick PA, Henderson AC, Pierce SJ, 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. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058255


Rohner CA, Pierce SJ, Marshall AD, Weeks SJ, Bennett MB, Richardson AJ (2013) Trends in sightings and environmental influences on a coastal aggregation of manta rays and whale sharks. Marine Ecology Progress Series. doi 10.3354/meps10290.


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


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


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


Marshall AD, Dudgeon C, 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, 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, e53.


Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Marshall AD, Weeks SJ, 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.


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


Brooks K, D Rowat, SJ Pierce, D Jouannet & M Vely (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, A Méndez-Jiménez, K Collins, M Rosero-Caicedo & A Monadjem (2010) Developing a code of conduct for whale shark interactions in Mozambique. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.1149


Marshall AD, 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 A. D., Compagno, L. J. V. & Bennett, M. B. (2009) Redescription of the genus Manta with resurrection of Manta alfredi (Krefft,1868) (Chondrichthyes; Myliobatoidei; Mobulidae). Zootaxa 2301: 1–28.


Brunnschweiler J. M., Baensch H., Pierce S. J. & Sims D. W. (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 G. R., Queiroz N., Pierce S. J., Sazima I., Brunnschweiler J. M. (2008) Is Host Ectoparasite Load Related to Echeneid Fish Presence? Research Letters in Ecology doi: 10.1155/2008/107576


Marshall AD, Pierce SJ, 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.


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


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




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


Duinkerken, D.I. (2010) Movements and site fidelity of the reef manta ray, Manta alfredi, along the coast of southern Mozambique. MSc Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


MSc Haskell, P. (2010) Evaluating the impacts of whale shark tourism in southern Mozambique. MSc Thesis, University of Exeter, United Kingdom.


Marshall, A. D. (2009) Biology and population ecology of Manta birostris in southern Mozambique. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland, Australia

Our Latest Blog Postings

By Lisa-Marie Auditore   Local Approach to Conservation...

Community Educati...

About 1 day ago

By Andrea Marshall   There is still so much left to lea...

Field Notes from ...

About 1 week ago

By Morgan Hannah Pettersson   In February 2017, Cyclone...

Giving light to c...

About 4 weeks ago

From: (Your email address)

To: Your friends

Subject: No subject

Your message will go here.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Thank you for choosing to donate to Marine Megafauna Foundation

Here are the options for you to choose from. Please make sure you enter a name for the animal you adopt.

* indicates required