Presentation Title

Behavioral budget of the Antillean Manatee at resting holes in Saint George’s Caye, Belize

Project Collaborators

Eric Ramos

Abstract

The American manatee (Trichechus manatus) inhabits coastal waters near freshwater systems, where they often overlap with human activities such as boat traffic, fisheries, and coastal development. The American manatee population is declining and as a result is classified by the IUCN Red List (2019) as vulnerable. Manatees are difficult to observe in the field, and thus there is very little information about their behavior. An estimation of the behavioral budget of the Antillean manatee (T. m. manatus) was made. Antillean manatees are a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, which are primarily distributed in Caribbean waters. The focus of this study is the behavior of Antillean manatees in Belize, a country that holds the largest population of Antillean manatees in the Caribbean. Footage from unmanned aerial vehicle videos (UAVs aka drones), of manatees using resting holes in St. George Caye, were used to develop a protocol for behavioral observations of manatees. The protocol was made in order to estimate a comprehensive behavioral budget for the population in this part of Belize. This study will provide information about manatee behavior and habitat use, which can inform the Belizean government in their efforts to manage and protect this species

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Laura May-Collado

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biological Science

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Behavioral budget of the Antillean Manatee at resting holes in Saint George’s Caye, Belize

The American manatee (Trichechus manatus) inhabits coastal waters near freshwater systems, where they often overlap with human activities such as boat traffic, fisheries, and coastal development. The American manatee population is declining and as a result is classified by the IUCN Red List (2019) as vulnerable. Manatees are difficult to observe in the field, and thus there is very little information about their behavior. An estimation of the behavioral budget of the Antillean manatee (T. m. manatus) was made. Antillean manatees are a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, which are primarily distributed in Caribbean waters. The focus of this study is the behavior of Antillean manatees in Belize, a country that holds the largest population of Antillean manatees in the Caribbean. Footage from unmanned aerial vehicle videos (UAVs aka drones), of manatees using resting holes in St. George Caye, were used to develop a protocol for behavioral observations of manatees. The protocol was made in order to estimate a comprehensive behavioral budget for the population in this part of Belize. This study will provide information about manatee behavior and habitat use, which can inform the Belizean government in their efforts to manage and protect this species