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Accession Number 5005306

Title Modeling, estimation, and adaptive management of manatees

Project Description Managers making decisions about the endangered Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus

latirostris) need to be able to integrate multiple sources of data into their decision process. To do

this, they need models of population dynamics, tools for statistical estimation of life-history

parameters, and an adaptive framework for this integration.To assess status, evaluate trends, and

make predictions about the effects of management actions, managers need synthetic models for

manatee population dynamics. We will develop stage-structured, stochastic population models for

the four manatee sub-populations, incorporating appropriate expressions of uncertainty about the

structure and parameters of the models. We will work with management agencies to use these

models for status assessment, population viability analysis, and evaluation of potential

management actions.A critical aspect of effective model development is having unbiased and

precise estimates of life-history parameters in the model. We will continue to develop new

statistical tools for analysis of manatee data, and work with other manatee scientists to

implement the best analytical tools available to estimate key population parameters.While there

are many sources of data about manatee ecology and population dynamics, managers have not

had a comprehensive framework for integrating this monitoring data into their decision processes.

We will develop applications of adaptive management for manatee management problems. Two

applications have already been identified:(1) Manatees have shown a strong biotic response to

environmental change, by using power plant effluents to extend their winter range northward. With

the anticipated changes in the power industry brought about by deregulation, and the possible

closing of a number of aging once-through-cooling plants, there is concern about how manatees

will respond to this new change in their environment. The Manatee Warm-water Task Force is

seeking to develop an adaptive structure for reducing uncertainty and evaluating potential

management actions. We will guide the development of this adaptive framework, build models to

support it, and advise agencies on integrated monitoring design.(2) The Fish and Wildlife Service,

under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, is obligated to promulgate rules regarding incidental

take of manatees resulting from government activities related to watercraft and watercraft access

facilities. We will develop models to determine a biologically sound level of human-related effects

that meet the ônegligible impactö standard, and will work with FWS to embed this model in an

adaptive framework for assessing and evaluating management decisions related to this issue

Keywords adaptive management, estimation, manatee, negligible impact, population viability analysis, power

industry, stochastic population model,

Principal Michael C Runge, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center:; William L

Investigators Kendall, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center:; James D Nichols,

USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center:;

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