Media Inquiries on USGS Manatee Research

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We appreciate your interest in USGS' Sirenia Project. To help inform members of the media and public, we have provided relevant publications, reports, and websites. 

USGS scientists have devoted more than forty years to studying the biology and ecology of the West Indian manatee. Research conducted by our scientists is used to help inform management actions, including the recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's announcement to downlist the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened. Here, you will find information on the manatee science conducted by USGS. For more information, please use the contacts provided.

Every few years, USGS conducts a comprehensive analysis on the the status and threats for the Florida manatee. Those reports can be found here:

Status and threats analysis for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), 2016

Status and threats analysis for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), 2012

Model description and evaluation of the mark-recapture survival model used to parameterize the 2012 status and threats analysis for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)

A core stochastic population projection model for Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris)

A Quantitative Threats Analysis for the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)

 

Related Content

Filter Total Items: 10
Date published: October 21, 2016

Demographic and Population Models to Assess Recovery and Status of the Endangered Florida Manatee

Population models developed by USGS are the primary decision-support tools used for status assessments, and rely on estimates of adult survival and reproduction rates from mark-recapture studies.

Date published: October 19, 2016
Status: Active

Modeling, Estimation, and Adaptive Management of Florida Manatees

The Challenge: Florida manatees are threatened by watercraft-related mortality, the potential loss of warmwater habitat, red tide events, and other anthropogenic factors. The USFWS and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have regulatory authorities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and state statutes to recover manatees. To...

Date published: October 16, 2016

Modeling Past Variation in Florida Manatee Survival, Breeding, and Movements Rates to Establish Baselines for Aquatic Ecosystem and Restoration Research

Long-term monitoring data in the Manatee Individual Photo-identification System (MIPS), developed and coordinated by WARC-Sirenia Project in collaboration with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory, are the basis for modeling manatee demography rates.

Date published: October 14, 2016

West Indian Manatee Population Genetics

Nuclear microsatellite markers have been developed and implemented on ~2,000 West Indian manatees. These markers provide individual genetic fingerprints for mark-recapture studies, population structure information for the conservation of unique or isolated populations, and pedigree and relatedness information for addressing inbreeding and breeding structure patterns.

Date published: October 12, 2016

Manatee Health Assessment and Biomedical Studies

A multi-agency effort assesses the health of manatees and provides baseline information on their health, reproductive status, and nutritional condition.

Date published: October 10, 2016

Manatee Photo ID as a Tool for Research: The Manatee Individual Photo-Identification System (MIPS)

Since 1978, USGS scientists have photo-documented manatees in the Southeast United States. Now, more than 3,000 manatees can be found in the MIPS database.

Date published: October 5, 2016

Structured Decision Making for Management of Warm-Water Habitat of Manatees

Manatees are tropical to subtropical in distribution and, with few exceptions, Florida is the northern limit of their natural winter range.  The availability of warm-water habitat during winter is critical for the future persistence of the population in Florida.

Date published: October 3, 2016

Manatee Distribution and Habitat Use in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

USGS works with partners to assess manatee distribution and habitat use throughout the Northern Gulf of Mexico.

Contacts: James Reid
Date published: August 1, 2016

Monitoring and Assessing Effects of the Picayune Strand Restoration Project (PSRP) on the Florida Manatee

Critical information predicting condition changes in manatee habitat resulting from the alteration of freshwater flows to estuaries is needed to develop the PSRP Detailed Design and PSRP Operations Plan components and complete consultation under the Endangered Species Act.

Date published: August 1, 2016

Seagrass Beds and Manatee Foraging Areas in the Ten Thousand Islands: Mapping and Characterizing by Incorporating Manatee GPS Tracking Data and Habitat Information

Turbid water conditions make the delineation and characterization of benthic habitats difficult by traditional in situ and remote sensing methods. Consequently, only a small fraction of this valuable resource has been mapped or characterized.

Filter Total Items: 7
Date published: March 19, 2018

New genetic test detects manatees' recent presence in fresh or saltwater

Environmental DNA picks up traces of the elusive mammals’ saliva, skin, waste, or exhaled breaths.

 

Date published: November 24, 2017

Serene Sirens: USGS Sea Cow Science

It may be hard to believe the legend that sailors long-at-sea once considered manatees to be mermaids. The manatee nickname – the “Sea Cow” – which comes from the herbivores’ affinity for grazing on vegetation and their slow, ambling way just makes more sense. But a U.S. Geological Survey video reveals that while they may be cow-like, they also have more than a bit of the magical mermaid to them.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: April 11, 2017

Florida Manatees Likely to Persist For At Least 100 Years—US Geological Survey  

Florida’s iconic manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, so long as wildlife managers continue to protect the marine mammals and their habitat, a new study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.

Date published: May 20, 2015

Long-term Prognosis for Florida Manatees Improves

The risk of extinction for the endangered Florida manatee appears to be lower, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey led study.

Date published: September 13, 2010

Manatee Subspecies Genetically Confirmed, But Diversity Challenge Looms

Gainesville, FL. -- The first genetic study to compare nuclear DNA of endangered Antillean manatees in Belize with Florida manatees confirmed their designation as separate subspecies. Belize’s manatees, however, were found to have extremely low genetic diversity, raising questions about their long-term genetic viability.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Date published: June 1, 2010

Clue to Manatee Survival During Freezes -- Salinity Gradients Can Create a ’Blanket Effect’

The importance of a ‘blanket effect’ caused by layers of fresh and salt water in two warmwater manatee refuges along the coast of southwest Florida has been documented by a team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists. 

Date published: August 4, 2004

Manatee Population Rising in Some Regions, Likely Stalled or Declining in Others

Manatee populations are growing at healthy rates in two of four regions off Florida’s coast, but may be stalled or declining in the remaining regions, according to a recently released report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Filter Total Items: 8
Florida Manatee with a tracking devise attached
May 3, 2016

Florida Manatee with a tracking devise attached

Florida manatee population uses warm-water discharges from power plants during winter
April 25, 2016

Florida manatee population uses warm-water discharges from power plants during winter

USGS Researcher with Manatee
2012 (approx.)

USGS researcher collects data on manatee in Florida spring.

Manatee swims in a Florida spring
2012 (approx.)

Manatee swims in a Florida spring

Two manatees with radio transmitters attached
2012 (approx.)

Two manatees with radio transmitters attached

Image: A Manatee in Florida

USGS conducts long-term, detailed studies on the life history, population dynamics, and ecological requirements of the West Indian manatee. Federally listed as endangered, the manatee is a large, gentle, plant-eating, and slow-moving marine mammal.

Image: Aerial Photo of a Manatee Feeding on Seagrass Beds

A manatee feeds on sea grass beds in Ten Thousand Islands region of Florida.