Temperature inverted haloclines provide winter warm-water refugia for manatees in southwest Florida

Estuaries and Coasts
By: , and 

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Abstract

Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) overwintering in the Ten Thousand Islands and western Everglades have no access to power plants or major artesian springs that provide warm-water refugia in other parts of Florida. Instead, hundreds of manatees aggregate at artificial canals, basins, and natural deep water sites that act as passive thermal refugia (PTR). Monitoring at two canal sites revealed temperature inverted haloclines, which provided warm salty bottom layers that generally remained above temperatures considered adverse for manatees. At the largest PTR, the warmer bottom layer disappeared unless significant salt stratification was maintained by upstream freshwater inflow over a persistent tidal wedge. A detailed three-dimensional hydrology model showed that salinity stratification inhibited vertical convection induced by atmospheric cooling. Management or creation of temperature inverted haloclines may be a feasible and desirable option for resource managers to provide passive thermal refugia for manatees and other temperature sensitive aquatic species.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Temperature inverted haloclines provide winter warm-water refugia for manatees in southwest Florida
Series title Estuaries and Coasts
DOI 10.1007/s12237-010-9286-1
Volume 34
Issue 1
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Florida Water Science Center, Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 106
Last page 119
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial Ten Thousand Islands;Everglades
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