Date of Award
West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) are tropical and subtropical aquatic mamals that can develop cold stress syndrome (CSS) when subjected to water temperatures below 20'C for prolonge dperiods. This study investigtes the potential impact that cold winter water temperatures in Florida may have on manatee body shape as a selective force to reduce surface-area-to-volume ratio (SA:Vol; i.e. Bergmann's and Allen's Rule). Morphometric measurements collected from state-mandated necropsies (1974-2014) were used to calculate surface area, volume, and mass. We found that manatees that died of CSS on average had significantly greater SA:Vol and less mass compared to those that died of other causes, and that for one unit (0.01) increase in SA:Vol, the odds of succumbing to CSS increases by 34.6%
Chirachevin, Purin, "The Relationship Between Cold Stress Syndrome Mortality And Body Shape in Florida Manatees" (2017). Honors Theses. 153.