Use of telemetry and GPS to monitor West Indian manatee movements in Alabama waters

Project Leader: Dr. Ruth Carmichael

Project Details

Radio-telemetry and global positioning system (GPS) technology are valuable to track and monitor manatee movements. The technology is attached as a tag that links the manatee to a remote monitor, but allows natural movement. Despite the need for spatial data to complement monitoring efforts, define fringe habitats and how they are used, and clarify relationships among populations, there have been no directed tagging studies of manatees in Alabama waters. This study will extend the collaboration between DISL and Sea 2 Shore Alliance in Florida to include telemetry and GPS tagging of local manatees. This project will provide the first high-resolution spatial and temporal data to help define local manatee movements, migratory patterns, and habitat use.

These studies will include aerial and ground surveys of manatees in Mobile Bay and surrounding waters along with research to determine what manatees eat while in the Bay. The projects, funded by the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, are a collaboration between Dauphin Island Sea lab and researchers at Sea 2 Shore Alliance in Florida.

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