LAAMU, Maldives – April 30, 2019 – The Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) at Six Senses Laamu was founded on the principle of uniting people and organizations with a shared vision for the conservation of the marine environment in Laamu Atoll. With this vision in mind, MUI facilitated introductions between the creators of the world’s first non-invasive underwater ultrasound scanner and provided a site for field testing.
MUI is a team of 10 marine biologists from Six Senses Laamu, the Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and Olive Ridley Project who lead the tourism industry in the Maldives with marine conservation efforts based on research, education and community outreach.
Two years ago, MUI brought together some of the great minds in veterinary technology and challenged them to create a device that could ultrasound scan Laamu’s resident population of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi).
“MUI aims to be a marine conservation visionary,” says Marteyne van Well, Six Senses Laamu general manager, “One of the ways we’re leading conservation efforts in the Maldives is by providing a platform for discussions on, and the field testing of, this world-first technology.”
Following a visit to Six Senses Laamu, Vetsonic (UK) Ltd Founder Ray Rochester approached veterinary imaging leaders IMV Imaging with the idea of developing a scanner to meet the rigors of diving at Manta Point, a manta ray cleaning station (the manta ray equivalent of a Six Senses Spa) just a 10-minute boat ride from the resort that researchers from the Manta Trust have been studying since 2014.
IMV Imaging’s Duo-Scan:Go Oceanic is the first ever technology to allow contactless scanning of wild marine animals at depths of up to 98.5 feet (30 meters), while also being portable (the dive rig weighs less than 4.5 pounds (2 kilograms). The aim of bringing this technology to Laamu was to scan wild pregnant reef manta rays in order to study gestation and embryonic development.
Laamu is home to 125 reef manta rays, which display courtship behavior during two annual courtship periods: May-June and October-November. Each year the Manta Trust has identified between one and 11 pregnancies.
Manta Trust researchers have been field testing the Duo-Scan:Go Oceanic in Laamu for the past year and a half. Over this period, they successfully developed approach methods and obtained ultrasound scans of wild pregnant and non-pregnant reef manta rays.
“We know very little about where these reef manta rays go to give birth and how long gestation lasts in the wild. This ultrasound technology could allow us to determine rates of reproduction in the wild and this information would help guide conservation strategies for this threatened species.” says Nicole Pelletier, Manta Trust project manager at Six Senses Laamu.
This project was a collaborative effort between the Maldives Underwater Initiative at Six Senses Laamu (including the Manta Trust), IMV Imaging, Vetsonic (UK) Ltd and The University of Cambridge Veterinary School.
Duo-Scan:Go Oceanic is a revolutionary technology that assists with learning about manta rays production, which is still largely a mystery.
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Manta Trust researcher Haisham Rasheed approaches a wild reef manta ray to scan it.
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View of Manta Point, the manta ray cleaning station nearby Six Senses Laamu, where field testing was conducted.
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About Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, deep in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by a beautiful coral house reef. Most of the villas and facilities are built overwater, however beach villas and on-land dining is an option. All villas offer a sense of privacy and seclusion, with an amazing view to the Ocean and Maldivian nature.
Six Senses Laamu offers a wide range of dining options, with cuisines from around the world, an ice cream parlor, an overwater wine cellar and a signature Chill bar. Many activities, excursions and options are available for everyone to enjoy, both over water and underwater, in addition to the Six Senses Spa.
About Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is one of the world’s leading operators of luxury hotels, resorts and spas, managing 19 hotels and resorts across 14 countries, plus 37 spas under the brand names Six Senses, Evason, Six Senses Spas and Raison d’Etre. There are a further 18 hotels and resorts signed into its development pipeline. In February 2019, Six Senses became part of the IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) family of hotel brands.
Six Senses properties share a leadership commitment to community, sustainability, wellness and design, infused with a touch of quirkiness. Whether an exquisite island resort, mountain retreat or urban hotel, the enduring purpose is to help people reconnect with themselves, others and the world around them.
Six Senses Spas offers a wide range of holistic wellness, rejuvenation and beauty treatments administered under the guidance of expert therapists in all resorts as well as at 16 additional standalone spas. The high-tech and high-touch approach guides guests on their personal path to well-being, taking them as deep as they want to go.
Six Senses Residences provides the best life has to offer. From beautifully-appointed villas on the beach, rustic chalets in the mountains and spacious urban hideaways, Six Senses features a variety of residential choices in stand-alone buildings or attached to a resort or hotel. No matter the location, the promise remains the same and the commitment to create a community where every day revolves around learning and growing, great food and drink, innovative wellness programming, sustainable living – all mixed in with a lot fun.
Evason follows the Six Senses philosophy of uncompromised responsibility to sustainability and the community. Its two unique resorts provide a strong value focus, while offering a vast array of personal guest experiences that the whole family will love.
For further information, please contact:
Marketing Communications Officer
Six Senses Laamu
T +960 6800 800
M +960 791 6897
|Benjawan Sudhikam (Ms.)
Director of Public Relations
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
T +66 2 631 9781
M +66 8 181 38234