U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research on Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) from 1982 through 1998 identified lower apparent survival rates for adult manatees during years when Hurricane Elena (1985), the March "Storm of the Century"(1993), and Hurricane Opal (1995) hit the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Although our analysis showed that a significant number of our monitored individual manatees failed to return to their winter homes after these storms, their actual fate remains unknown. With the aid of new satellite technology to track manatees during storms and new statistical techniques to determine survival and emigration rates, researchers are working to understand how hurricanes impact the endangered species by studying manatees caught in the path of the destructive hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Research on the impacts of past and future hurricanes on the endangered Florida manatee: Chapter 6J in Science and the storms-the USGS response to the hurricanes of 2005