Updated statewide abundance estimates for the Florida manatee

Technical Report 23
By: , and 



Knowing how many manatees live in Florida is critical for conservation and management of this threatened species. Martin et al. (2015) flew aerial surveys in 2011–2012 and estimated abundance in those years using advanced techniques that incorporated multiple data sources. We flew additional aerial surveys in 2015–2016 to count manatees and again applied advanced statistical techniques to estimate their abundance. We also made several methodological advances over the earlier work, including accounting for how sea state (water surface conditions) and synchronous surfacing behavior affect the availability of manatees to be detected and incorporating all parts of Florida in the area of inference. We estimate that the number of manatees in Florida in 2015–2016 was 8,810 (95% Bayesian credible interval 7,520–10,280), of which 4,810 (3,820–6,010) were on the west coast of Florida and 4,000 (3,240–4,910) were on the east coast. These estimates and associated uncertainty, in addition to being of immediate value to wildlife managers, are essential new data for incorporation into integrated population models and population viability analyses.

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Publication type Report
Publication Subtype State or Local Government Series
Title Updated statewide abundance estimates for the Florida manatee
Series title Technical Report
Series number 23
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildfish Research Institute
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 23 p.
Country United States
State Florida
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