At the 30th American Elasmobranch Society Meeting

I arrived at Chattanooga on the 31th of July to represent the Manta Pacific Research Foundation at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. I was hoping my flights would not be delayed, since my oral presentation entitled `Rapid and long-term coloration changes of manta rays (genus Manta)` was scheduled only 2 hours after my plane landed. Finally, I arrived just in time and have presented during the American Elasmobranch Society, Behavior session. After the talk I have received lots of questions which showed that I made people think about the potential roles and mechanisms of these coloration changes. Even those who were not working on elasmobranches expressed intense interest about the importance of these findings. Many people were curious about further studies on skin histology in order to reveal the exact mechanism of the rapid coloration changes, which seem to be a unique mechanism among cartilaginous fishes.

Dr. Csilla Ari presenting at the 30th American Elasmobranch Society Meeting on coloration changes of manta rays.

The opening reception was held at the Tennessee Aquarium, which was only a short walk away from the conference venue. After a buffet dinner we could walk around and see probably one of the best freshwater fish collection in the world. Huge arapaimas, gars, paddle fishes, stingrays, catfishes and other river giants were swimming around peacefully in the shady tanks.

My poster presentation took place the following afternoon. Two and a half hours of continuous interest and questions showed people`s interest toward manta ray cognition. The title of my poster presentation was `Contingency checking and self directed behavior of captive manta rays: Do fish have self awareness?` co-authored with Dr. Dominic D`Agostino, from the University of South Florida.

Every presentation provided exciting new information and covered many species and research areas. In addition to the overwhelming positive response to the presented findings, potential future collaborations were planned on elasmobranch sensory biology, neuroscience, sample collection and on a future symposium.

Crazy shark items waiting for crazy scientists. Manta Memories items were donated to the AES in order to help raise funds for future student awards.

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