Manatee Manatee
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Tracking the Trackers
We want to introduce you to the actual scientists who are tracking the six manatees in this year's Journey North program, and also send our thanks to them in advance for generously sharing their data, information and expertise with us throughout the season.

Cathy Beck, Susan Butler, Bob Bonde, Dean Easton and Jim Reid are biologists with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Sirenia Project, a federal program initiated in 1974 to conduct detailed life history studies on the endangered manatee.

Thanks to Cathy, Susan, Bob, Dean and Jim you can look at the latest data on the manatees we are tracking.

Meet The Manatee Scientists:

Cathy Beck

Bob Bonde

Jim Reid

Susan Butler

Dean Easton

Cathy manages the Manatee Individual Photo-identification System (MIPS), a computerized photographic catalog that currently includes 1,400 wild manatees, with information on each individual's travels and behaviors. She also is involved in manatee food habits, vegetation and parasite studies.

Bob and Jim have extensive experience in radio-telemetry techniques, including both VHF and satellite-monitored tracking of manatees. They both also are accomplished swimmers and photographers of wild manatees, often finding it necessary to immerse themselves in their work in order to photograph or tag manatees!

Bob also has 23 years of experience in manatee and whale necropsy studies, and is the Large Whale Necropsy Team Leader for the National Marine Fisheries Service. He has flown over 38,000 miles of aerial surveys looking for manatees in Florida, Puerto Rico, Belize, Mexico, and Panama.

Jim has conducted extensive research in Puerto Rico, radiotracking manatees and surveying seagrass habitats. He also is the Project's Argos program coordinator. Jim is married and has three dogs and one cat. He enjoys hiking, biking, sailing, kayaking, SCUBA diving, wind surfing, water and snow skiing, and other perilous activities.

Bob and Cathy are married and have a 17 year old son, Michael, an 12 year old daughter, Julie, one dog, Copper, and one cat, Dusky. They enjoy outdoor activities, traveling, gardening, and collecting books and beanie babies (-:

Susan Butler has been with the Sirenia Project since 1994, radiotracking tagged manatees and photographing scarred individuals statewide, but her primary duty is tag construction.Tag construction entails fitting the VHF and satellite transmitters, sonic beacon, and battery pack into the special housing that together are the "tag" that we deploy on these manatees.  She also color codes and numbers each tag for easy field identification. She is the one who actually "builds" the belts too, and assures that they are sized precisely for each manatee.  Susan is married and has 2 children, Jeffrey who is 11 and Hannah who is 8.  Her family enjoys the company of 3 geckos, a turtle, lots of fish, and hiking and camping together.

Dean Easton is the Sirenia Project's premier GIS expert. We rely on his expertise for all our mapping and data plotting needs!  Besides that, he assists with all aspects of fieldwork from radiotracking tagged manatees, photographing scarred individuals statewide, and assessing seagrass habitat. Dean is married, and he and his wife share a log home in the woods with their fluffy dog "Bear."

Brought To You By
Thanks also to Service ARGOS, the technology company that manages the ARGOS satellite system that is used to receive and organize the tracking data from thetransmitters.

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