Manatee Manatee footprints (swimming away from on-coming motor boat) Albatrosses taking a stroll on the beechDancing Albatrosses Design and analysis for evaluation of human impacts on trust species of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Principal Investigator:
Paul Doherty, William Kendall, Michael Runge

Post-doctoral Student:
Sarah Converse

Project Start Date: 02/05

Funding Agency: USGS (RWO 73)

Introduction:
Human impacts on trust species of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) can take many forms, including incidental take (e.g., albatross mortality on fishing long lines, manatee mortality due to loss of warm-water habitat) and harassment (e.g., jogging in the vicinity of feeding waterbirds). The management of diverse biological taxa can involve common themes in terms of managing human activities and modeling the impact thereof, and designing programs to monitor those impacts. The primary objectives of this study are to model diverse human-induced impacts as well as provide study designs to better collect data to model such impacts.

Application:
Estimation methods and study designs will be developed and applied to trust species of the USFWS.

Objectives:

1) Evaluate albatross banding data from the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and design future banding studies to estimate the effects of fishing on survival and breeding probability of albatross populations.

2) Develop predictive, spatially structured models to simulate Florida manatee behavior and population dynamics, particularly regarding manatee use of warm-water sites during winter.

3) Design a study of the impact of joggers and other recreational users on waterbird use and behavior at National Wildlife Refuges of the northeastern United States.

Progress: Albatross banding data have been evaluated and survey designs have been provided. Sarah Converse was recently hired to focus further on manatees and albatross modeling and study design needs.