Inferring spatial and temporal behavioral patterns of free-ranging manatees using saltwater sensors of telemetry tags

Mammalian Biology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Diving or respiratory behavior in aquatic mammals can be used as an indicator of physiological activity and consequently, to infer behavioral patterns. Five Antillean manatees, Trichechus manatus manatus, were captured in Chetumal Bay and tagged with GPS tracking devices. The radios were equipped with a micropower saltwater sensor (SWS), which records the times when the tag assembly was submerged. The information was analyzed to establish individual fine-scale behaviors. For each fix, we established the following variables: distance (D), sampling interval (T), movement rate (D/T), number of dives (N), and total diving duration (TDD). We used logic criteria and simple scatterplots to distinguish between behavioral categories: ‘Travelling’ (D/T ≥ 3 km/h), ‘Surface’ (↓TDD, ↓N), ‘Bottom feeding’ (↑TDD, ↑N) and ‘Bottom resting’ (↑TDD, ↓N). Habitat categories were qualitatively assigned: Lagoon, Channels, Caye shore, City shore, Channel edge, and Open areas. The instrumented individuals displayed a daily rhythm of bottom activities, with surfacing activities more frequent during the night and early in the morning. More investigation into those cycles and other individual fine-scale behaviors related to their proximity to concentrations of human activity would be informative

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Inferring spatial and temporal behavioral patterns of free-ranging manatees using saltwater sensors of telemetry tags
Series title Mammalian Biology
DOI 10.1016/j.mambio.2014.07.003
Volume 80
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 21
Last page 30
Country Belize, Mexico
Other Geospatial Chetumal Bay
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N