Especially in the marine environment, difficult and expensive to access, arriving at a critical mass of data for population analysis can take years. This results in excessively long research studies, which result anyway in conclusions drawn with too few data and too coarse analysis.
Wildbook® is an open source software framework to support collaborative mark-recapture, molecular ecology, and social ecology studies, especially where citizen science and artificial intelligence can help scale up projects. It allows projects to obtain, curate, and analyze “Big Data”, such as the potential of citizen scientists to collect and contribute large volumes of wildlife data through tourism and volunteerism.
Manta rays are widely distributed, migratory, and have unique spot patterning on their underside that can be used to identify individuals. Wildbook® - MantaMatcher is the first global online manta ray database, managing manta ray sighting and identifications worldwide. MantaMatcher also promotes collaborations by way of cross-referencing different study sites. Scientists can now examine if populations are shared between neighboring countries, examine regional and long distance movements, and examine the lifespans of manta rays.