Abundance of West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus) around selected Florida power plants following winter cold fronts, 1982–1983
Abstract:Seven 1-day aerial surveys were flown during winter, 1982–1983, to assess manatee abundance. The surveys focussed on five Florida Power and Light Company plants: Cape Canaveral (PCC), Riviera (PRV), Port Everglades (PPE), Lauderdale (PFL), and Ft. Myers (PFM). Of the 1,191 manatees sighted during the surveys, 930 were present in the immediate vicinity of the plants. Ten percent of the total animals sighted were calves, with the highest percentage of calves (13.6%) being present at PFM.
Maximum counts of manatees for each plant were as follows: PCC, 15; PRV, 98; PPE, 56; PFL, 16; PFM, 85. With the exception of PRV's maximum count, all of the 1982–1983 maxima represent the lowest maximum counts for the respective plants in 6 years of surveys. The low counts most likely reflect the mild winter temperatures. With the exception of PFM, there is no indication that any regional manatee populations have declined significantly.
Seventeen regressions compared the following variables: intake water temperature at power plants, mean daily air temperature, and number of manatees observed at each plant. Significant correlations were found only for three regressions of water temperature and number of manatees, for one regression of air temperature and number of manatees, and for one regression of all variables. The remaining regressions indicated correlations that were not significant, supporting the contention that winter cold was not of sufficient intensity or duration in 1982–1983 to cause large numbers of manatees to aggregate.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 1985
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