Manta Mania 2018

February 21st-28th

Pricing & Travel

Workshop costs (including workshop and accomodations): 

$1699- Standard Room

$1799- Oceanview Room

$1999- Deluxe Oceanview Room

Prices do not include airfare. If you fly from Guam, you are eligible for a group rate on your flight 

Accomodations provided by the luxurious Manta Ray Bay Resort in Yap, Micronesia. Scuba diving excursions conveniently arranged through Yap Divers, based out of the Manta Ray Bay Resort. Visit their websites to find out more about the Resort and Yap Divers by following the links below:

MRB Resort:

Yap Divers:


Enjoy a cold glass of beer made from our own micro-brewery

Enjoy Yap's world-class diving

Learn from field experts about research and technology

Meet scientists and enthusiasts from around the world

Get up close and personal with Yap's manta rays, like Bridget

Dive with the experts to become a citizen scientist


Diving- Experience world-class diving through Yap Divers, including the many Manta Ray mating sites, sightings of the beautiful mandarin fish, and plenty of sharks!

Research & Presentations- Learn about manta and shark research from scientists and participate in hands-on field research alongside them!

Culture & Hospitality- Experience Yapese culture through village visits, cultural displays, and eco-tours. Enjoy Yapese hospitality with a daily breakfast buffet and beachside bbqs with the team.

Image by Brad Holland

Guest Speakers

Dr. Sonia J. Rowley

Dr. Sonia J. Rowley is a postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawai’i, Research Associate at the Bishop Museum, and Chief Science Officer for the non-profit organisation the Association for Marine Exploration. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Sir. David Attenborough Award for Fieldwork, and recently elected Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. 

Sonia specializes in the evolution and diversity of gorgonian (sea fan) octocorals, particularly across different depths throughout the Indo-Pacific. Sonia has >34 years diving and expedition experience around the globe, and integrates advances in closed circuit rebreather diving technology with a suite of analytical research tools for her work. She endeavours to share her research discoveries especially with the local communities throughout the Indo-Pacific to assist in reef conservation measures. Sonia is particularly delighted to be part of Manta Mania as it provides the opportunity to share her experiences and excitement of these magnificent animals, as well as the many fascinating creatures she encounters at depth.


Roxanna Miller

Roxanna Miller has been living on Guam for the past 11.5 years and graduated with her Master’s in Biology in 2011 from the University of Guam.  Upon graduation, Miller worked for a small environmental consulting firm before she began working for the Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program as the Guam NOAA Coral Fellow.  After her fellowship ended, she was the Guam Marine Invasive Species Coordinator for a short period before returning to the Guam Long-term Coral Reef Monitoring Program as the Monitoring Technician in 2015.  Since the birth of her second child in 2016 she has taken a leave of absence but remains one of Guam’s coral experts, remaining close to the ocean professional and personally as an avid paddler.


Dr. Mark Deakos

Dr. Deakos has spent most of his life in the water, either as a competitive swimmer, water polo player, scuba diver and marine biologist. Originally from Canada, was fortunate to experience living in various countries around the globe during his early years. His chosen career working in wildlife biology and marine research is an extension of his passion for the natural world and his marvel for the ocean. After working with several avian and reptile species, his interests rapidly returned to the ocean and towards marine mammals, which eventually led him to Hawaii in 1996. At the University of Hawaii, he completed his master’s degree studying humpback whale behavior and continued his graduate work by completing his doctoral degree with a focus on manta ray ecology. In 2004, Dr. Deakos founded the Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research (HAMER), a non-profit dedicated to protecting and preserving Hawaii’s manta rays. Over the past, over 430 distinct manta rays have been identified in Maui, the largest known in the United States, however sighting rates have dropped by over 90% in just the past decade. To help understand the reason for this rapid decline, HAMER is investigating habitat use using acoustic and satellite tags, stock structure and paternage using genetics, and age-class demographics and growth rates using paired-laser photogrammetry. An automated pattern-recognition software is being developed to match manta ray photos quickly and research continues to focus on ways to eliminate man-made threats to the mantas such as entanglement in fishing gear and impacts to their reef habitat through land-based sources of pollution.

Julie Hartup

Julie obtained her degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University and was a research diver and teaching assistant for their marine biology program held at Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey California. Julie completed several internships at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Water Quality, Visitor Presentations, and Tuna Research Center. After moving to Guam in 2007 with her husband Dr. Jason Hartup and four children. Julie began working on her master’s degree at the University of Guam. Julie came across a new undocumented feeding behavior of the reef manta ray, targeting reef fish spawning aggregations to feed off fish eggs. Julie trained in the Maldives with the international NGO Manta Trust Founder Guy Steven, and later became Manta Trust Project leader for the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marianas Islands. Julie is also a board member and scientist for Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research. Currently, she has expanded her area of study on manta rays throughout Micronesia such as: Northern Marianas, Yap, Outer islands of Yap-Ulithi, Pohnpei, and Marshall Islands. Starting in 2015, Julie Hartup along with follow scientist Jennifer Cruce created Micronesian Conservation Coalition with extensive help and assistance from Whitney Blandford and Carlotta Leon Guerrero, co-founder and Director of Ayuda Foundation.

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