An Active Manatee Season In The Northern Gulf


Alabama/DISL Adoption Update

By Dr. Ruth Carmichael, Director, DISL/MSN, & Elizabeth Hieb, Research Technician, DISL/MSN

Manatee sighting season continues in the northern Gulf of Mexico with several familiar manatees appearing in Alabama waters! Using photos from publicly reported, opportunistic sightings, our team at Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Manatee Sighting Network (DISL/MSN) has identified three manatees with previous sighting histories in Alabama. One of these manatees, nicknamed Big Ben, was last seen in Alabama during 2017, and we are excited to see him back on the northern Gulf coast. Tagged manatees Clog and Lynnspin also recently returned to Alabama waters, where our team has been monitoring their movements. We continue to keep a lookout for Save the Manatee Club adoptee Bama when we are on the water and through publicly reported sightings, but this elusive girl has so far evaded the camera.

Since our last update, we are also excited to announce the release of a new peer-reviewed publication titled “Thermal microrefugia and changing climate affect migratory phenology of a thermally constrained marine mammal.” Published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, this paper explores how warm water microrefugia combined with increasing regional water temperatures may affect the timing of manatee migration, allowing manatees to extend the duration of time they spend in the northern Gulf of Mexico. We hope this research will help enhance our understanding of manatee movements and habitat use and ultimately aid in management and recovery efforts for the species.

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