Trends in sightings of the stingrays of southern Mozambique
Marine and Freshwater Research
citizen science, Dasyatidae, GAMM, Mozambique
Understanding the drivers that influence abundance and distribution of marine species is essential to predict future trends in abundance and inform conservation efforts. This is vital in the largely unregulated coastline of Mozambique, where stingrays are afforded no protection by law and are caught by small-scale fishers. During SCUBA dives from 2012 to 2018, trained citizen scientists recorded 11 environmental, spatial and temporal variables along with the count of four stingray species (Megatrygon microps, Taeniurops meyeni, Neotrygon indica and Pateobatis jenkinsii) in the Inhambane region of Mozambique. By constructing bubble plots and generalised additive mixed models (GAMMs), we analysed the relationship between the probability of sightings of each species with the 11 variables. It is evident that the sightings for each of these four stingrays of the Inhambane region differ spatially and seasonally. The key findings include that T. meyeni and M. microps were found to increase in sighting frequency in different seasons (winter and summer respectively) at similar dive sites typically further from shore. Neotrygon indica commonly occupied the areas closer to shore. Identifying key habitats, and temporal and environmental conditions, is conducive to implementing effective conservation strategies in the region, such as, in this instance, all stingrays could be provided with a refuge in the same area.
Jennifer Keeping, Rosanna J. Milligan, Katie Reeve-Arnold, and David Bailey. 2021. Trends in sightings of the stingrays of southern Mozambique .Marine and Freshwater Research . https://nsuworks.nova.edu/occ_facarticles/1207.