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
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 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
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
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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