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

Periodo de realización: 2014/06/01 al 2014/01/01

Tipo: Artículo científico

Resumen: "Diving or respiratory behavior in aquatic mammals can be used as an indicator of physiological activityand 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 witha 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 establishedthe 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 betweenbehavioral 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 ofbottom 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 proximityto concentrations of human activity would be informative."

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