SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Behavior related vocalizations of the Florida manatee with Dr. Beth Brady

This series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome!

Thursday, October 20th 2022 at 1 pm EDT (10 am PDT / 5 pm GMT) 
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Behavior related vocalizations of the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)
with Dr. Beth Brady

This event is free to attend and presented online via Zoom, but registration is required.
Register here:
Space on Zoom is limited to the first 500 attendees. The talk will also be streamed live on the SMM Facebook page.

About this talk:
Florida manatees produce a variety of vocalizations, but their function is unclear. The goal of this study was to investigate if manatee vocalizations could be correlated with behavior. Multiple underwater microphones were used to record manatee vocalizations in four different environments and behaviors. Vocalizations recorded from resting, playing, stressed and feeding wild animals were statistically tested to determine whether vocalizations varied with behavior and calf presence. The length, amount of noise, and changes in pitch (frequency modulation) from vocalizations were also measured to investigate if they differed between behaviors. Results suggest manatees use few call types to vocalize and vary the structure of the call based on behavior. One call type was correlated with calf presence, and noisier calls were more frequently observed during play. The most common call manatees produced are called “squeaks”. Squeaks were longer in length and higher in frequency modulation when animals were stressed. This research provides a foundation for comparative studies on vocal behavior for the Florida manatee as well as studies on related species.

About the presenter:
Beth was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania and first found her interest in marine life on a family vacation.  She initially became a registered nurse, but after a few years of nursing realized her true passion was marine biology. She returned to school and got her undergraduate degree at Kutztown University, Pennsylvania. After graduation, she volunteered with multiple marine mammal and wildlife organizations and found her love of manatees through an extended internship at Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC). After the internship, she completed her Master’s at Nova Southeastern University where she first became involved in studying underwater sound (acoustics) and manatee vocalizations. She completed her doctorate at Florida Atlantic University in 2020. She is currently a post doctoral research fellow at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL.
Dr. Brady’s primary research investigates vocal communication in manatee species. In addition, she is studying manatee behavior and ecotourism impacts, and recently started flying drones to assess Florida manatee body condition.

Open access to this article is made temporarily available in the weeks around the presentation and can be found here. Current SMM members have access to all other Marine Mammal Science papers.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here:

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