May 17-26, 2022

Dr. Alfredo Giron
Citizen Science Manta Ray Expedition
$3400 per person, quad occupancy


Learning How to do Photo ID of Manta Rays
Who is that Manta and Why is it Here?

Alfredo Giron Nava, Ph.D.
Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions



Join Alfredo Giron from the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions in this quest to learn how to do underwater photo ID of manta rays in the Revillagigedo Islands and learn a little more about their ecology and value to the ecosystem. Alfredo is a marine biologist and oceanographer who got his B.Sc. from Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, in Ensenada, Mexico. He later pursued a Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where, among other projects, he helped to establish a research program to study manta ray populations in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Alfredo is a passionate speaker, and an avid storyteller, who can help you to transform those photos and memories into stories to bring back home.

Session 1:

Duration: 25 min
Topic: Revillagigedo.
Description: A brief history of Revillagigedo and its role in protecting populations of large pelagic species, including mantas, sharks, dolphins & whales.

Session 2:

Duration: 20 min + Q&A
Topic: How to take a good photo for Photo ID?
Description: Explanation of the importance of photo ID, the creation of catalogs, and their value for science, conservation, and tourism.
Activity: Throughout the whole trip, try to take good photos of the mantas’ bellies. Let’s see how many different individuals, estimate the sex ratio, see which ones have been injured, and compare our photos to the existing catalog for Revillagigedo. Let’s also submit our best photos to the catalog and contribute to their scientific study.

Session 3:

Duration: 15 min + Q&A
Topic: Why are the mantas here?
Description: Explanation of cleaning stations and deep-sea feeding grounds. What we see at the surface is their daylight activity after they have fed at depth.
Activity: Throughout the whole trip, try to take photos that show a story about the cleaning stations. Let’s chat about which fish are cleaning them and use our fish identification guides to learn about them.

Session 4:

Duration: 15 min + Q&A
Topic: Where do the mantas come from?
Description: Explanation of migrations from other parts of the world, how satellite tags help us to monitor their movements, and how the oceanographic conditions explain food distribution. Why is Revillagigedo such an important spot for them?

Session 5:

Duration: 15 min + Q&A
Topic: How can everyone help to protect the mantas?
Description: Explanation of the importance of tourism to support manta ray conservation. What is the economic value of mantas for the Mexican economy and why is a manta worth more in the water than being fished? How can everyone stay involved after this trip?



Alfredo received his Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. Prior to that, he studied physical oceanography at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California.

Alfredo’s work focuses on the use of technology to support the sustainable management of ocean resources and the protection of biodiversity. His work spans research projects in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Palau, Solomon Islands, the European Union, and a series of studies at a global scale. He has contributed to the design and execution of research programs to study manta rays in the Mexican Pacific, including populations that frequently visit the Revillagigedo Islands. In 2021, the US National Academy of Sciences recognized Alfredo's contribution to the advancement of the use of science to inform public policy, which was featured in the 22nd Annual Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture.

To book your space, email

To learn more about Alfredo and some of the work he has done on marine protected areas in the Gulf of California, watch this video!