Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Abstract

Despite recent increases in marine wildlife-based tourism, interactions between humans and marine mammals are not well understood. Human interactions with manatees, in particular, have not been thoroughly studied. The main objective of the project was to determine if, and when, human interactions affect manatee behavior during manatee season, or manatee distribution during the off-season. Analysis of video data focused on the behaviors of a focal manatee in response to surrounding human activities. The majority of neutral responses indicated that the manatees did not alter their immediate behavior in response to humans. However, manatees did appear to spend more time, on average, stationary and milling in the presence of humans, and less time resting and slow traveling. An analysis of the frequency and types of human and manatee uses within Refuge waters in Kings Bay during the manatee off-season indicated that public use, regardless of frequency, was not a significant factor determining the presence or absence of manatees during the off-season. Temperature is the driving factor for manatee use of the springs, but there are still manatees present during the off-season when they are not dependent on the springs for warm water refuge.

Comments

Department: MBF

MPS Track: MMS

Location: Crystal River national Wildlife Refuge

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