Citizen Science – Elasmobranch, Mola & Turtle ID

Effective marine conservation and management practices for threatened species rely heavily on an in-depth knowledge of population dynamics. This includes abundance and distribution, habitat use, and life history parameters. In the past this information has been collected using a capture-mark-recapture technique. However with the advancement of photographic and identification technology we are not able to collect the information suing a non-invasive method. Photographic identification is the method of using photographs of an animal’s natural markings for individual identification, and has recently been used increasingly as a reliable tool to track individuals over time. The us of photo-ID offers many advantages over the conventional tagging methods, as it is non-invasive, low cost, and has proved to be reliable over long periods of time. However with the advancement of photographic and identification technology we are now able to collect this information using a non-invasive method.


Additionally, intensive training is required to become familiar with the characteristics and the population features in order to obtain correct matches.

Our team of researchers seeks out profile pictures either taken during survey dives or submitted by local divers voluntarily. The identification of individuals within a population and the collection of reliable information on distribution, habitat use, and life history traits are the minimum requirement for behavioral and ecological studies of a species. Therefore, this long-term project is designed to provide valuable information to marine biologists around the world to help create better management strategies and educational outlets on the marine mega fauna in Indonesia’s top diving destinations.

We are able to submit to many leading researcher databases, as well as our own in-house Turtle ID project, collaboration is absolutely key in conservation in modern times when funding is scarce and travel has been restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • Manta Individual Identification – Mantamatcher (Marine Megafauna Foundation), ID The Manta (The Manta Trust)
  • Elasmobranch Identification (Diversity & Abundance) – Elasmobranch Project Indonesia, Thresher Shark Indonesia, eOceans
  • Turtle Individual Identification – Nusa Penida / Bira Turtles, Internet of Turtles
  • Mola Individual Identification – Match My Mola! (Dr. Marianne Nyegaard)

Locations: Penida, Bunaken, Bira