Historic Markers Across Florida

Tracking Manatees

Marker ID:  
Location: 10901 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL
County: Lee
Coordinates: N 26° 41.57    W 081° 46.645
  26.69283333    -81.77741666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMV4KQ


Tracking Manatees
Working for Wildlife

Discovering travel patterns and habits of manatees helps researchers understand them and helps State and Federal Agencies protect them. There are several different ways researchers track manatee travels.

Photo Identification
Photo-identification uses the unique pattern of markings on a manatee's trunk and tail fluke to identify an individual animal. In Florida, these markings are primarily scars from accidental encounters with boats; however entanglements in fishing gear, cold stress lesions, and fungal infections also can cause scarring. Photo histories allow scientist to tract manatees over time and provide information on the status of the Florida manatee.

Aerial Surveys
Aerial distributional and synoptic surveys provide information on where manatees are found, how many are in a particular area, and how they use habitats and total population. Aerial distribution surveys are used to determine the where manatees are located at different times during the year and relative abundance of manatees. These surveys are most commonly flown every two weeks for two years. Synoptic surveys are aerial surveys that cover all the manatee's know wintering habitats in Florida. Manatees are counted during the coldest months because they congregate near warm-water sites. Synoptic surveys provide a population estimate for the Florida manatee throughout its whole range.

Radio Tagging
Researchers attach radio telemetry tags to manatees to observe travel patterns. A belt, which is connected to a floating tag, is attached around the base of the tail. A satellite transmitter in the tag sends signals to weather satellites. Each tag has a different color band combination so manatees can be identified by sight. Researchers use the data to document behavior, associations with other manatees, and reproductive success of females.

Photographs of this marker can be found on HMDB.org