Queensland, Australia

University of Queensland

Email Kathy

Kathy Townsend

I have a long standing interest all aspects of Elasmobranch ecology and biology. I have worked on shark tagging programs and have investigated the embryological development of the egg laying catsharks Chiloscyllium punctatum and Hemiscyllium ocellatum.

Project Manta:
My most recent interest is in the population dynamics and habitat usage of mobulids such as the manta ray Manta birostris off of east Australia. Although manta rays are commonly seen and dived with at popular dive sites, there is relatively little is known about most aspects of the biology and ecology of manta rays (including population size, migration patterns, growth rates, size at maturity, reproductive biology, longevity and age at maturity) and there is no scientific data available on the Australian east coast population. A longer-term goal of the study is to use manta rays as an indicator species to assist in monitoring the effects of environmental change. Global warming has caused marked changes to the global oceanic conditions. Changes in water temperature, current patterns, and ocean acidification are all effects that may have dramatic consequences on the distribution, movements and behaviours of manta rays. Correlating large-scale oceanographic variables with manta ray distributions and movements may make them the perfect candidate as an easily spotted bio-indicator of global oceanic health.

Verified Sightings

Redmap is funded by

Lead institutes