Prior research on manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) survival in northwest Florida, based on mark-resighting photo-identification data from 1982-1998, showed that annual adult apparent survival rate was significantly lower during years with extreme storms. Mechanisms that we proposed could have led to lower estimates included stranding, injury from debris, being fatally swept out to sea, or displacement into poorly monitored areas due to storm-generated longshore currents or storm-related loss of habitat. In 2004 and 2005, seven major hurricanes impacted areas of Florida encompassing three regional manatee subpopulations, enabling us to further examine some of these mechanisms. Data from a group of manatees tracked in southwest Florida with satellite transmitters during Hurricanes Charley, Katrina, and Wilma showed that these animals made no significant movement before and during storm passage. Mark-resighting data are being collected to determine if survival rates were lower with the 2004 and 2005 storms. ?? 2006 Estuarine Research Federation.
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Possible effects of the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes on manatee survival rates and movement