[MARMAM] Updated abundance estimates for the Florida manatee - Technical report

Gowan, Tim Timothy.Gowan at MyFWC.com
Thu Nov 9 10:00:21 PST 2023

On behalf of my co-authors, I would like to share the results of the most recent Florida manatee statewide abundance survey, which are published in an FWRI Technical Report:

Gowan TA, Edwards HH, Krzystan AM, Martin J, Hostetler JA. 2023. 2021-2022 Statewide abundance estimates for the Florida manatee. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Technical Report No. 27.

FWRI Digital Library record: https://f50006a.eos-intl.net/F50006A/OPAC/Details/Record.aspx?BibCode=5857422
Direct link to report: https://f50006a.eos-intl.net/ELIBSQL12_F50006A_Documents/Final_1.5_TR27_231027.pdf

Knowing the population size of Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is critical for conservation and management of this threatened species. Martin et al. (2015) and Hostetler et al. (2018) applied statistical models that incorporated multiple data sources to estimate the statewide abundance of manatees from aerial surveys flown in 2011-2012 and 2015-2016. We conducted additional aerial surveys in 2021-2022 and applied similar models to provide an updated abundance estimate. This report serves as an update to Hostetler et al. (2018), with most of the text and methodology adapted from the previous report, and provides updated population estimates based on the newly available data. We estimate that the number of manatees in Florida in 2021-2022 was 9,790 (95% Bayesian credible interval 8,350-11,730), of which 4,630 (3,960-5,420) were on the west coast of Florida and 5,160 (3,940-6,980) were on the east coast. These estimates and the 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. We also provide context for interpreting the new estimates and perspectives for future modeling improvements.

Timothy Gowan, Ph.D.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 8th Ave SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
timothy.gowan at myfwc.com<mailto:timothy.gowan at myfwc.com>
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