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Biology Highlights - 2009


DISCOVRE Expedition

USGS DISCOVRE Expedition - click to go to the websiteThe 4-year multidisciplinary research program will focus on understanding the physical oceanography, biology, ecology, genetic connectivity, and trophodynamics of deep coral environments in the Gulf of Mexico (300-1000 m depths), both within natural and artificial (shipwreck) sites. Learn More Sound Waves - December Issue









Florida Sand Removal Impact Assessment Database, dunes image - click to go to the databaseThe MMS has identified an immediate need to compile a synopsis of available literature on existing environmental conditions in Federal waters along the Florida coastline. Learn More








Healthy Springs, Healthy Manatees

Monitoring the health of the endangered West Indian manatee, (Trichechus manatus), is one focus of the USGS Sirenia project. - click to enlarge

Using endangered species as models of survival may require quite a stretch of the imagination, but that's exactly how USGS biologists view certain populations of manatees. North Florida is dotted with warm artesian springs that attract manatees seeking refuge from winter's cooler temperatures. USGS scientists monitor manatee populations at some of these springs, in order to obtain annual estimates of survival and reproduction. Similar estimates obtained in other regions of the state indicate that manatees that overwinter at springs may fare better than those that winter in regions without springs.

USGS biologist Cathy Beck uses ultrasound to measure manatee fat layers, one indicator of health. - click to enlarge

At Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, USGS scientists and their partners have conducted manatee health assessments for the past 3 years, and plan to conduct assessments at other sites in the future. Links to hydrology, such as continuous, adequate flow of spring waters is of paramount importance to manatees, and water quality is also of concern.

Ultimately, scientists hope to be able to provide information on how to keep springs healthy for manatee survival. Manatee Captures and Health Assessment Handout




Florida Natural History Lecture Series

Flyer cover - The Future of the Florida Manatee: Mermaids in Peril

The U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY and the SPIRIT OF THE SUWANNEE MUSIC PARK in Live Oak have teamed up to bring the latest scientific news on Florida Wildlife and our unique natural environment directly to the public. Once a month a noted research scientist will present a one-hour illustrated talk on topics ranging from jumping sturgeons to deep-reef fishes. Talks will be interactive - any and all questions are welcome. Increase your understanding of the natural world of Florida, and learn what you can do to help preserve it.

The FLORIDA NATURAL HISTORY LECTURE SERIES was kicked off in October 2008 and will continue through 2009. This month's lecture will feature Dr. Bob Bonde of the U.S. Geological Survey. His talk is entitled: "The Future of the Florida Manatee - Mermaids in Peril". See accompanying flyer.




Dr. Ken Dodd - click to enlargeDr. Ken Dodd, A retired USGS employee (retired in 2007) was awarded the annual Conservation Award at the Annual Meeting of the Desert Tortoise Council for his contributions to the conservation of the desert tortoise, Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, and Bolson tortoise. Dr. Dodd is currently a volunteer with the Florida Integrated Science Center's Amphibian Research and monitoring Initiative (ARMI). Dr. Dodd serves as a courtesy faculty member in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the Univ. of Florida. Congratulations to Ken on receiving this much warranted recognition, and for all that he does for conservation of our precious natural resources.



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