Michelle Carpenter

Currently enrolled for training as a Roving Reporters Ocean Watch correspondent, marine biologist, Michelle Carpenter has a special passion for manta rays.

Michelle graduated with a BSc in Marine Science from Eckerd College. Since then Michelle wandered the marine world finding work in coral restoration, tropical marine ecology, and megafauna research. She is now enrolled in a MSc by dissertation at the University of Cape Town (UCT) studying reef manta rays in Zavora, Mozambique with Marine Action Research (MAR).

“Manta rays are charismatic species that are poorly understood yet are economically important by generating ecotourism in developing countries such as Mozambique,” says Michelle. “Despite their value, mantas are under serious threat with reports of up to 98% sightings decline in Mozambique. However, there are select places such as Zavora where mantas are still seen in high numbers, although they are dwindling there too.”

Michelle’s research documents both key aspects of the Zavora population and behavior of reef manta rays.

Michelle Carpenter doing what she loves most: getting close up and personal with manta rays

In addition to frolicking underwater and studying the majestic mantas, Michelle enjoys eating chocolate and peanut butter (special resources in remote Zavora) with her fellow lab mates, tumbling off surfboards, dancing at markets with the local community, and playing ukulele.