As a conservation biologist, Andrea has dedicated her life to researching and protecting manta rays and other marine life. She is a co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) and is known as the Queen of Mantas.
Andrea learned to SCUBA dive at a young age in Monterey, California. She was excited by the underwater world, grew into an underwater photographer as a teenager, but ultimately decided she wanted to become a marine researcher to help learn about and safeguard the species she loves so much.
When Andrea moved to Africa, she originally wanted to study great white sharks, but she switched to manta rays instead as no one had formally studied them before. Andrea discovered that manta rays are curious creatures that love to interact with humans. She was excited by the challenge of researching mantas for the first time and eventually became the first person in the world to complete a PhD on manta rays, discovering not one but two different new species of manta rays along the way!
Andrea co-founded the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) in Mozambique, which has now grown into a global not for profit organization. Their mission is to ‘Save Our Ocean Giants from Extinction’, particularly threatened marine life like manta rays, whale sharks, sea turtles and dugong. MMF’s vision is to live in a world where marine life and humans can thrive together.
Andrea, also known as Queen of Mantas, travels the globe researching manta rays and other threatened species and documenting rare marine life for print media and television. While she continues her campaign for the protection of manta rays worldwide, Andrea has dedicated her life to safeguarding the manta ray populations off southeastern Africa. To do this, she is focused on protecting their most important habitat off the coast of southern Mozambique where she lives with her husband and young daughter.
“The oceans still have so much to offer us, so many secrets to reveal. We must continue to embrace research, exploration, and conservation. I still marvel at how little we know about our great oceans. This sense of the unknown is what should drive us. It should inspire us.”
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