Angari Foundation for Manta Ray Research

Angari Foundation & Local Nonprofits Team Up

Worth Avenue Yachts proudly supports the Angari Foundation, and its ocean conservation efforts. Florida is home to many adult manta rays and serves as an important manta ray nursery. Considering this, a collaborative team of local nonprofits came together to bring this incredible marine animal to the forefront by creating an accurate 3D manta ray model. Along with the Angari Foundation, the Digital Life Project, and Marine Megafauna Foundation are coming together to promote manta ray education and research.

The first study on the South Florida manta ray population was published by The Florida Manta Project, which is a research group within the Marine Megafauna Foundation. This study showed that the South Florida population is composed exclusively of juvenile manta rays. It also shed light on the issue of many mantas entangled in fishing lines and with injuries from boat propellers. This highlights the need for mitigation of threats and public education on manta rays.

Digital Life and the Angari Foundation understand that education and public awareness are vital for conservation, and both foundations have experience modeling threatened marine life. A few years back, the two partnered on a 3D shark model, which resulted in a first-of-its-kind animated great hammerhead shark. The shark model has since been used for research and education purposes and has established Digital Life as a leader in creating high-quality 3D models of living organisms. The West Palm Beach headquartered Angari Foundation is dedicated to marine science research and education, using innovative technology and film to raise awareness and strengthen science education. 

Angari Foundation, Florida Manta Project, Digital Life Team Photo

The Florida Manta Project research team uses drone technology, aerial surveys, and in-water photography/videography to collect measurements and track the South Florida manta ray population. For the modeling project, the team spent a week working offshore in Palm Beach County searching for manta rays, and whenever possible, the team captured up-close photographs and video footage. Many of the manta rays had already been seen, and their friendly nature made data collection easy.

One such manta ray was a 2.5 meter (8 feet), juvenile male manta ray named Skye. Florida Manta Project researchers previously observed Skye in June of 2020 and have since spotted him more than 20 times. Using collected footage and measurement data, the Digital Life animator recreated the manta ray’s shape, gills, mouth, and other attributes, including adding Skye’s identifying details and texture. Even the ray’s scars from a boat prop are noticeable. Finally, the model was rigged for final animation, which accurately depicts Skye’s swimming motion and the lifelike movement of his cephalic fins during feeding.

Duncan Irschick, Director of Digital Life, is excited about the possibilities this manta ray model can provide. “This was an amazing collaboration that has resulted in a one-of-a-kind scientific and educational tool that we hope can be shared widely. The 3D model can be used to study the energetics of movement, as well as body condition and health in manta rays, and therefore helps preserve these remarkable animals”. Skye is the only accurate 3D model of a manta ray and an invaluable digital specimen to represent Florida’s manta ray population as well as manta rays globally. His impeccably modeled look and movements combined with his well-documented friendly personality surely make Skye the most interesting manta ray in the world.

To learn more about the Angari Foundation and its efforts for ocean conservation, click below!

About ANGARI Foundation

ANGARI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation established in 2016 and headquartered in West Palm Beach, FL. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a global community that is interested, knowledgeable and invested in marine and environmental sciences by directly supporting research initiatives that foster a greater trust and dialogue between scientists and the public. ANGARI Foundation uses innovative technology, film and other media to raise awareness and strengthen science education. Many of the Foundation’s primary initiatives involve R/V ANGARI, a 65-foot vessel that serves as an exceptional research and education platform. For more information visit www.angari.org.

About Digital Life Project

The Digital Life Project (www.digitallife3d.org) aims to preserve the heritage of life on Earth through creating and sharing high-quality and accurate 3D models of living organisms. We aim to spur scientific discovery, support wildlife conservation and create educational opportunities. The Digital Life project is a non-profit initiative within the University of Massachusetts at Amherst that creates digital 3D models of living organisms to support wildlife conservation, science and education. We are partnering with scientists, zoos, and NGOs to ethically gain access to a wide array of animals for 3D scanning, including endangered species. Utilizing the Beastcam™ technology, our team of photographers, engineers, modelers and scientists creates high-quality 3D models through photogrammetry – the integration of 2D images to create 3D models. Digital Life’s models are freely available online for public viewing and free downloads are available for creative and non-profit work. 

About Marine Megafauna Foundation

The Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) was created in 2009 to research, protect, and conserve the populations of threatened marine megafauna around the world. MMF’s headquarters are located in Tofo, Mozambique, where they operate as Associação Megafauna Marinha (AMM). ‘Megafauna’ are large species such as sharks, rays, and sea turtles. For further details, please seewww.marinemegafaunafoundation.org.

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