Presentation Title

P-26 Preliminary Data for How Manatees (Trichechus Manatus Manatus) Locate Food in Their Natural Environments

Presenter Status

Masters Student, Biology

Second Presenter Status

Associate Professor, Biology

Preferred Session

Poster Session

Start Date

25-10-2019 2:00 PM

Presentation Abstract

Manatees, which are members of the order Sirenia, are completely aquatic herbivores. How manatees find their food in their natural habitats remains unknown. It is unlikely that manatees use tactile cues or auditory cues to find food given their herbivorous lifestyle; however, tactile cues likely play a role in the decision to consume a plant once it has been located. It is therefore likely that manatees either find food using visual or chemical cues and the use of both provides increased efficiency in finding food. Additionally, manatees may find food recalling where food has been found before. To test the sensory modalities that Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) use to find food, a field study was conducted in Bocas del Toro Providence, Panama. Sensory modalities used to find food were tested for long distance and short distance detections. Short distance detection was examined by testing visual, chemoreceptive, and visual + chemoreceptive cues using dichotomous choice trials where food items were placed in a plexiglass box next to a plexiglass box without food items. The plexiglass box containing food was randomized to prevent bias or memorization. Long distance detection was examined by testing chemoreception and chemoreception + visual cues. The amount of time required to find the food was measured. To avoid the potential effect of memorization, plexiglass boxes were placed in random locations within their natural habitat. Choice experiments and long-distance time trials will be compared to control settings to determine the efficiency of these two modalities in isolation and combined.

Acknowledgments

Andrews University Graduate Grants in aid of Research, Andrews University Faculty Research Grant, Woodland Travel Fund Department of Biology Andrews University, and Total Plastics Int’l

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Oct 25th, 2:00 PM

P-26 Preliminary Data for How Manatees (Trichechus Manatus Manatus) Locate Food in Their Natural Environments

Manatees, which are members of the order Sirenia, are completely aquatic herbivores. How manatees find their food in their natural habitats remains unknown. It is unlikely that manatees use tactile cues or auditory cues to find food given their herbivorous lifestyle; however, tactile cues likely play a role in the decision to consume a plant once it has been located. It is therefore likely that manatees either find food using visual or chemical cues and the use of both provides increased efficiency in finding food. Additionally, manatees may find food recalling where food has been found before. To test the sensory modalities that Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) use to find food, a field study was conducted in Bocas del Toro Providence, Panama. Sensory modalities used to find food were tested for long distance and short distance detections. Short distance detection was examined by testing visual, chemoreceptive, and visual + chemoreceptive cues using dichotomous choice trials where food items were placed in a plexiglass box next to a plexiglass box without food items. The plexiglass box containing food was randomized to prevent bias or memorization. Long distance detection was examined by testing chemoreception and chemoreception + visual cues. The amount of time required to find the food was measured. To avoid the potential effect of memorization, plexiglass boxes were placed in random locations within their natural habitat. Choice experiments and long-distance time trials will be compared to control settings to determine the efficiency of these two modalities in isolation and combined.