An Analysis of Boat Noise and its Influence on the Feeding Ecology of the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)

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2019-04-25

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Abstract

That boats cause behavioral changes in marine mammals is well established. Behavioral responses to boats include increases in swimming speed, changes in swim direction and dive patterns, and/or reductions in foraging time. While many of these behavioral changes have been documented in cetaceans, there have been considerably fewer studies focused on sirenians. The Florida manatee, a federally threatened species, is particularly vulnerable to the presence of boats. In addition to injury and mortality from vessel strikes, the noise produced by boats has the potential to disrupt feeding behavior, which could lead to possible population level consequences. This project examines the relationship between boat noise and the time spent feeding by the Florida manatee. A better understanding of this interaction is useful in improving existing environmental policies to improve the management and conservation of the species.

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Burke, Tara (2019). An Analysis of Boat Noise and its Influence on the Feeding Ecology of the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18417.


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